The Twittersphere, Microblogging & Elections

The focus this week was on the use of Twitter during elections and election coverage by the media in Australia & India. The readings this week were ‘#ausvotes, How Twitter Covered the 2010 Austrlaian Federal Election’ by Axel Bruns & Jean Burgess (2011) & ‘Online Journalism & ElectionREporting In India’ by Saayan Chattopadhyay (2012). Whilst both of the articles used specific elections in order to generate the data for their analysis the main points of the articles were the use of “hashtags”, how and why people used Twitter. So even though I would confess to being a “politcal junkie” as Bruns & Burgess put it I would like to focus more on the use of Twitter itself in regards to media use for interactvity.

First it is important to understand why Twitter has become so important for media outlets and the simple fact is its massive popularity levels, as shown by the following infographics.

Media outlets have used many different techniques to incorporate social media and Twitter into their programs, because as Tony Wang (Twitter UK General Manager) states;

Broadcasters are not the ones to choose whether to have social TV. It happens whether they like it or not… 80% of under-25s are using a second screen to communicate with friends while watching TV, while 72% of them are using Twitter, Facebook and other mobile apps to comment on the shows they watch.

The following video gives a nice rundown of some of the main ways social media has been incorporated by various media outlets in response to these statistics.

The article by Bruns & Burgess (2011) has a particular focus on the use of “hastags” to create “ad-hoc issue publics or communities” around a central theme or idea, this is exactly what media outlets are attempting to create with the incorporation of “hastags” and other social media tools into their programming. These communities are important because they can generate more viewers & they also help to keep the current viewers engaged for the length of the program.

From my own personal experiences with Twitter and the “hashtag” communities I am a supporter of this idea, especially in regards to watching live sport which I feel is a much more exciting & enjoyable experience when you are engaged with other people. I recently experienced this whilst watching the Manchester United vs Everton game where I was Tweeting my opinions & reactions, which then got retweeted and led to conversations with people I had never met, as the game went on. So I for one am happy social media has taken off & hope that media outlets can begin to further develop more detailed and interactive means of using this valuable resource into their programming.


Bruns, A & Burgess, J (2011) ‘#ausvotes: How Twitter Covered the 2010 Australian Federal Election’, Communication, Politics & Culture, vol.44, no.2, pp.37-56

Chattopadhyay, S (2012) ‘Online Journalism & Election Reporting in India’, Journalism Practice, vol.6, no.3, pp.337-348

Dredge, S (2012) ‘Twitter UK Boss Says Social TV Happens Whether Broadcasters Like It Or Not’, The Guardian, 30 March, accessed 22/8/2012,

Twitter (2011) ‘The Best of Twitter TV’, accessed 22/8/2012,


Online Newspapers

I know this post is a little late, but for this post we are looking at online newspapers particularly Susan Jacobson’s paper ‘Transcoding the News: An Investigation into Multimedia Journalism Published on 2000-2008’ (2011). This paper examines the process of transcoding, which is

“defined as the changes that result from translating an established cultural product into a new technology”

the paper does this by examining the use of multimedia elements used on the website.

Some of the main elements employed by the publishers of were the use of audio slideshows, sidebar links (links to elements outside the story), embedded links (links within the story) and finally the “gamification” of news storytelling; which is a technique which allows the audience to explore the story without a predefined narrative by the journalist.

Under this process the voice of the journalist as an interpreter or analyst is missing from the articles rather the reader is given the tools to interpret the facts in their own manner and come to their own conclusions, this makes the process of reading the news more like a game than was previously experienced in traditional print media according to Jacobson (2011).

The major advantages of transcoding include:

  • Ability to provide more detail with uncut video, rather than soundbites.
  • Journalist able to provide more analysis and perspectives due to the unrestricted space constraint of the medium, as compared to print.
  • Ability to publish more photos online without increasing burden on journalist & thus providing more detail.
  • Ability to experiment with the medium which other traditional media cannot afford to do.
  • Finally the ability to implement “metajournalism” tools to make it possible for readers to participate in the discussion and share the story via social media.

From my personal experience I much prefer this type of news reporting, especially due to my keen interest in sports which is much easier to get the story across with the added ability to include highlights video packages, photographs and post game interviews. A great example of this is many of the articles on or

A great example of the use of multimedia tools in an online news article is available at Foxsports. Below is another example of the type of video that may be used in a sports news article online.

Thanks for reading & please feel free to leave comments below.


Jacobson, S (2012) ‘Transcoding the News: An Investigation into Multimedia Journalism Published on 2000-2008’, New Media & Society,

The Blogosphere

Old & New Media: Blogs In The Third Age of Political Communication

Rather than a written blog post this week I have created a presentation for class which is embedded below.

Presentation Link

Links To Australian Political Blogs


  • Bleacher Report n.d., accessed 4/8/2012,
  • The Blowfly, Harris, I. accessed 7/8/2012,
  • Blumler J.G. and Dennis Kavanagh (1999) ‘The Third Age of Political Communication: Influences and Features’. Political Communication, Vol.16, (3): 209 – 230
  • Daily Telegraph Piers Akerman Blog, Akerman, P. accessed 7/8/2012,
  • Gill, K. (2004) ‘How can we measure the influence of the blogosphere?’, WWW2004, May 17-22.
  • Gillmor, D. (2006) We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
  • Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog, Bolt, A. accessed 7/8/2012,
  • Nguyen, A. (2006) Journalism in the wake of participatory publishing. Australian Journalism Review, 28, 143-155.
  • OJR Article: Blogging as a Form of Journalism 2012, Weblogs ofer a vital, creative outlet for alternative views’, accessed 5/8/2012,
  • University of East Anglia 2012, What Is Blogging?, accessed 4/8/2012,
  • VOAVideo 2008, Political Bloggers Active In US Election, accessed 7/8/2012,
  • Ward, I & Cahill, J ‘Old & New Media: Blogs in The Third Age of Political Communication’, School of Political Science & International Studies, University of Queensland

Social Media & Citizen Journalism

This week we examined the role of social media platforms in encouraging an upsurge in the number of participants in citizen journalism, with a particular reference to the recent “Arab Spring” uprising and during the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami crisis.

The two readings this week are by Sarah Joseph, ‘Social Media, Political Change, And Human Rights’ and Stuart Allen, ‘Bearing Witness: Citizen Journalism & Human Rights Issues’. Joseph’s paper was particular focused on the role social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook & Blogs played in the recent “Arab Spring” uprising. The main points I took from this article were the definition of social media, as “A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological & technological foundations of Web 2.0, & that allow the creation & exchange of User Generated Content”. I also found the OECD’s three (3) criteria for content to be classified as user-generated interesting:

  1. Should be available on a publicly accessible website or on a social networking site that is available to a select group.
  2. It entails a minimum amount of creative effort.
  3. Is created outside of professional routines & practices

Facebook and Twitter were deemed to have such an impact during the “Arab Spring” due to the massive user bases world-wide, Facebook had 835.6 million users in March 2012, accounting for more than 10% of the world population, & Twitter had 500 million active users in April of the same year with 340 million tweets per day. These numbers make it very clear that information posted on these sites has a much wider reach than many people would have previously had access to and thus can change attitudes & opinions world-wide & also make it harder for oppressive government to subdue their detractors without notice. These social media sites are also very important because they are fantastic facilitators of conversation & debate thus allowing the ultimate truth to come to the forefront.

The second reading for this week by Stuart Allen focuses on blogs and how they encouraged citizen journalism during the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami Crisis, it has a particular focus on how citizen journalism is helping to break down the traditional “us and them’ dichotomies which exist in modern Western journalism. The development of the internet & mobile communications has prompted the development of horizontal rather than top down networks of interactive communication that connect local & global.

With reference to the Tsunami crisis Allen explains how the idea of “helicopter journalism” where foreign correspondents report on what they see from a helicopter or in the very limited context that they encounter has been almost done away with the advent of blogging and citizen journalism by those people involved in the disaster at the time of the incident or living in more remote parts of the community & recounting their own personal experiences.

An example how wide and how quickly Twitter in particular can spread news has been the recent shooting in an Aurora Colorado theatre at the Batman premier, I first heard of this news on the social media site and the subsequently searched more hastags and then eventually when details were available on mainstream news media sites got the final picture from there.

One problem I have with the use of social media & was also pointed out in the articles is that the idea of “self mass communication” can also allow for very hateful, derogatory or extremist views to be published and viewed by many. A recent example of this is the extremely hurtful messages posted to British Olympic diver Ton Daley’s Twitter page after failing to win his event.

This clearly shows that there is a tradeoff to this fantastic new journalistic medium at our fingertip and it must be treated with a great respect.


Allan, Stuart, Prasun Sonwalkar and Cynthia Carter (2007) ‘Bearing witness: citizen journalism and human rights issues’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 5(3):373-389.

Joseph, Sarah (2012) ‘Social media, Political Change, and Human Rights’, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 35: 145-188.

Digital Culture & The Role of Audiences

This week we are looking at the changing dynamic between producers and users of media in the online and mobile media landscape, with particular reference to the writings of Axel Bruns & Mark Deuze. These papers both explore the paradigm shift that has occurred with the rise of participatory/citizen journalism which enables readers to become writers in a wide range of topics ranging from the highly specialised to the generic and the micro-local to the global.

After reading Bruns’ paper ‘From Reader to Writer: Citizen Journalism as News Produsage’ we are introduced to the term “produsage” which is used to describe the practice of producing content by hybrid “produsers” who are those users who also produce content. These produsers are becoming much more prolific in the online environment as they become more aware of the shortcoming of mainstream media, in particular its limited understanding of complex specialist topics or deliberate avoidance of other controversial topics. This idea is further supported by Shirky (2009) who states that the rise of the internet does not herald the rise of a powerful consumer but rather the disappearance of the consumer altogether, as no one is simple a passive user of the of the media they are now also a media outlet in themselves.

Deuze’s paper ‘Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Principal Components of a Digital Culture’ comes to a very similar conclusion in regards to participation in the online media community, in particular he states that “technology enables almost anyone to capture and share content”.  Deuze also introduces some other key terms that may be of importance when analysing the online and mobile media environment that surrounds us today. The first of these is “remediation” which is the remixing of old and new media, Secondly “bricolage” which is the incorporation of works and information currently available to create or develop further understanding, for example if a journalist uses the information from other articles on a particular topic to come to a different or deeper insight. Bricolage is particular evident in participatory/citizen journalism (especially blogging) with the way bloggers link to each other and to content found whilst surfing the internet and then adding their own insight, opinions and analysis.

An interesting example I found of the shift towards this more “open source” journalism as Deuze puts it is the upcoming olympic games, which are being touted as the first social media olympics. With the rise of new social media tools such as twitter, blogs, tout, youtube and facebook and also improved technology of wireless internet, digital cameras & smartphones we could be seeing the first olympic games where the most interesting news stories are not necessarily  produced by professional journalist but rather by the athletes themselves or by fans at the events. One concern I have though is with the restrictions/guidelines placed on the athletes and accredited officials some may become concerned with what they post and therefore not post certain material which could mean we as the end users miss out on some of the best stories. I am however a fan of the IOC implementing a social media hub, which can be accessed by clicking the image below, to allow following athletes much easier.


Bruns, A ‘From Reader to Writer: Citizen Journalism as News Produsage’. In Hunsinger, Jeremy, Lisbeth Klastrup & Matthew Allen (Eds.) Internet Research Handbook. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 119-134

Deuze, M (2006) ‘Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Prncipal Components of A Digital Culture’. The Information Society, 22(2): 63-75

Shirky, Clay, 2002a, 9 Sep. “Broadcast Institutions, Community Values,” Clay Shirky’s Writings about the Internet: Economics & Culture, Media & Community, Open Source, (accessed 25 July 2012)