Voldemort, activism, Armstrongs, and #ausvotes: four presentations on Twitter, social movements, politics, breaking news, and parody

Voldemort, activism, Armstrongs, and #ausvotes: four presentations on Twitter, social movements, politics, breaking news, and parody

Last month, as outlined previously, I was involved in several conference papers presented in North America, first at Internet Research 14.0: Resistance and Appropriation (IR14) in Denver and then at the Compromised Data? New paradigms in social media theory and methods colloquium in Toronto. (I was also involved in a roundtable at IR14, but more on that will come in another post).

The papers I presented, both co-authored and solo, cover different topics around Twitter activity and Twitter research; these include a continuation of the studies we’ve been carrying out at QUT around Australian politics online, and an outline of the rationale and approach for the Mapping Movements project I’m involved in with Sky Croeser at Curtin (Sky also has some great notes about the Toronto colloquium on her site). There are other connections, though, to my previous work throughout these papers, albeit at times indirectly – indeed, I make some of these links in the presentations.

All of the slides for these presentations are now available, and they also include the audio from the day – this year I didn’t get sick before presenting, so the recordings should be mostly okay throughout (except when I wander off and start pointing things out on the projections… I also make no guarantees about the quality of the *content*). The slides can be found either through the individual links below, or by heading to the (cunningly-titled) ‘Conference Slides‘ page.

First up, at IR14, Axel Bruns, Theresa Sauter, and myself presented as part of a panel on Social Media and Elections. Our paper covered the (very) recent Australian federal election, including the patterns of activity and interlinking between politicians and candidates on Twitter:

‘#ausvotes Mark Two: Twitter in the 2013 Australian Federal Election’ – Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Theresa Sauter

Immediately after that, I presented the first stages of my work around parody accounts on Twitter – this is all very exploratory, but I got some great feedback and suggestions following the presentation, and I’m looking forward to developing it further:

‘News via Voldemort: The role of parody and satire in topical discussions on Twitter’ – Tim Highfield

The next day, my final IR14 paper came in what ended up being a QUT/CCI panel on Celebrity Crises on Twitter, as unfortuantely not everyone could make it to Denver. The other papers (and all other papers presented by members of the Social Media Research Group at QUT) should be online soon – I’ll update this post with a link when that happens. In addition to studies of the Pope’s Twitter account and Oscar Pistorius, my paper examined the various stages of the Twitter coverage of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal over the second half of 2012 and start of 2013:

‘Appropriating breaking news? The evolving Twitter coverage of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal’ – Tim Highfield

The morning after IR14 concluded, I headed north to Toronto; for our research there, Sky and I took a step back from Twitter itself, instead looking at the challenges, limits, and advantages provided by big data and social media research in the study of social movements and activist groups, including the impact of this on the relationship between researchers and activists.

‘Mapping Movements: social movement research and big data: critiques and alternatives’ – Sky Croeser and Tim Highfield

Of course, it also goes without saying that I had a wonderful time once again at these conferences; AoIR is always full of exciting projects and amazing people, friends old and new, and it’s always a joy to head back there. The Toronto colloquium was similarly fascinating, representing some intriguing new projects into other platforms, and an opportunity to finally meet some people who have been in my reference lists for a long time. My thanks as always to all the conference chairs and organisers, fellow panelists and co-presenters, the chairs, respondents, and audience members, and everyone following along on the Twitter streams (whether at the conference or not!). Hopefully see you in Bangkok for IR15!