My Online Revolution Project: Twitter

Over the past few weeks of evaluating readings, publications and blogs, I have finally come to a conclusion on what I want to base my 6000 word research project on. In my Online Revolution seminar session I was required to do a presentation on my overall proposal, so I thought I would share this with you and see what you think. 

I am really fascinated with the evolution of journalism and how media platforms such as Twitter, has affected the change and development of traditional journalism. As of early this year (2012), the number of adults who use Twitter on a daily basis has doubled since May 2011 and the number of adults who signed up for a new twitter account increased 13% in 2011 to 15% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. Almost everyone I know has a Twitter account and use it to distribute information and retweet news events they find interesting or important. I honestly thought that this whole “Twittersphere” was just going to a being a moment of popularity in social media like, Bebo and MySpace, but it has proved me wrong.

With this interest and curiosity I have in Twitter, I felt it would be a good starting point for my Research Project. In recent events, mentioned in my previous blogs: Lord McAlpine and Hurricane Sandy, they showed and demonstrated how Twitter was used to distribute information in both successful and unsuccessful ways.

So, with this I came up with a rather bold hypothesis: 

I felt that a strong and bold hypothesis would create some controversy and will help me provide interesting findings and arguments. My initial and personal answer to this hypothesis, is probably no, Twitter is not the new driver of the news agenda, but you ask yourself what may be the agenda that shapes news now, and to be honest there is no clear answer. This is why I feel my hypothesis could hopefully draw some interesting conclusions and interviews (I hope).

This hypothesis has already drawn some key research questions. Here is a few examples:

  1. Does speed of news come before accuracy?
  2. Is Twitter a new catalyst of news and does it create its own stories?
  3. What is the value of ‘retweeting’?
  4. How much trust can we put into Twitter and its news feeds? 
  5. Does it put pressure on journalists to use and write on Twitter and then respond to it?
  6. Does Twitter move the news agenda? 

These questions not only question Twitter as a news agenda but also the element of trust and accuracy into this social media tool.

I feel that along with these questions, I have quite a few good case studies where Twitter has been used as an important tool of communication and then became the news agenda in either a good or bad way. A few examples are : Like previously mentioned, Lord McAlpine, Hurricane Sandy, Trafigura and Presidential Campaign.

My main methods of research for this project will be:

  • Search engine optimisation – Hootsuite/Tweetdeck 
  • Looking into depth on any Twitter driven stories
  • A selection of interviews from journalists who use Twitter and others who are mainly traditional media driven
  • Academic articles (there are very few academic books that discuss Twitter)

Alongside the 6000 word research project, I am required to provide a practical project. This will be my blog! In my next few blog posts, I will carry on with comments from any academic reading but also add any research I have found which will help build my research project. I will include reading, news stories and my interviews I have led. As my whole research project is on Twitter, I have provided my Twitter live feeds and links to any of my social media platforms I use.

I hope to find some interesting conclusions from this research project and would love to hear your views on it also.
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Posted on November 20, 2012, in Online Revolution, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Such a topical issue to base your project on! I think Twitter will really drive the news agenda in the future and I know I personally use it as a live source of up to date commentary on news stories. I’m interested to see what happens with the McAlpine story, what are your thoughts?

    • I am glad you think its relevant and interesting. I am so interested to see what happens with the McAlpine story. Already recent development – Sally Bercow has deleted herself off Twitter – what next?

  1. Pingback: From TV to Twitter: How Ambient News Became Ambient Journalism. Alfred Hermida. « The Different Views on the Online Revolution

  2. Pingback: Alfred Hermida and Twitter « The Different Views on the Online Revolution

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