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"Who is this redchanit?" Applying digital methods for issue mapping to one week of #gamergate

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Paper by Jean Burgess & Ariadna Matamoros presented at Theorising Digital Society, University of Canberra, September 2015.

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"Who is this redchanit?" Applying digital methods for issue mapping to one week of #gamergate

  1. 1. Jean Burgess & Ariadna Matamoros Digital Media Research Centre @qutdmrc ‘Who is this redchanit?’ Applying digital methods for issue mapping to one week of #gamergate
  2. 2. Digital Media Research Centre Approach Understand the dynamics of public communication in the digital media environment  Focus on social media -- supportive of ‘hybrid forums’ (Burgess, Galloway & Sauter, 2015)  Map issues and their publics across digital platforms
  3. 3. Digital Media Research Centre Social media Theories of publics Participation/engage ment in mediated issues Platform politics (Gillespie, 2014) New methods Issue mapping Controversy analysis Digital methods
  4. 4. Digital Media Research Centre Publics “Socio-political assemblages with shared or interlocking concerns who know themselves and act as publics through media and communication”
  5. 5. Digital Media Research Centre Publics & Digital Media ‘Issue-ified publics’ (Marres, 2015) – It is a constitutive feature of digital media that publics are increasingly ‘issue-ified’ ‘Ad hoc publics’ (Bruns & Burgess, 2015) – Digital media platforms and practices influence both the nature of publics and the means through which they engage in issues ‘Affective publics’ (Papacharissi, 2015) – role of emotion in mobilizing issue publics ‘Calculated publics’ (Gillespie, 2014) – algorithmic curation of content
  6. 6. Digital Media Research Centre How can we study how both publics and issues emerge, engage and overlap on different digital media platforms?
  7. 7. Digital Media Research Centre Issue mapping Issue mapping Controversy analysis Actor Network Theory (Latour, 1987) Generative (Callon, Lascoumes, & Barth, 2001) Digital methods Use the internet to study society ‘natively digital’ objects (Rogers, 2013)
  8. 8. Digital Media Research Centre Existing approaches to Issue mapping Since the early 2000- web-centered digital methods for issue mapping / hyperlink networks (Rogers & Marres, 2000; Venturini, 2012) Challenge? Issue mapping to social media analysis 1. Role of different platforms / ‘compromised data’ (Elmer, Langlois & Redden, 2015 2. Role of popular culture ( i.e. Visual culture --images, memes, gifts, videos)
  9. 9. Twitter data collection Issue inventory Other platforms Digital methods tools New discussions about the controversy Digital Media Research Centre Our approach to issue mapping Activity over time Most active users / @mentions Platform bias Other hashtags Key media objects (URLs) …. Scrape Public Facebook Pages Youtube videos / Tumblr networks ….
  10. 10. Digital Media Research Centre Case study #Gamergate
  11. 11. Digital Media Research Centre
  12. 12. Digital Media Research Centre (Source: Lada Adamic; Coursera course: “Social Network Analysis”)
  13. 13. Digital Media Research Centre Acute, temporally bounded sites of uncertainty and disagreement Tumblr tag network (tool: Rieder, 2015; Gephi visualisation)
  14. 14. Digital Media Research Centre on-gamergate-everyone-loses/ Ripped from the headlines
  15. 15. Digital Media Research Centre Starting point: Twitter Tracking the #gamergate since 2014 DMI-TCAT (Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset) Temporally bounded Twitter Data: 10-16 Feb. 2015 238.967 Tweets 29.278 distinct users DATA
  16. 16. Digital Media Research Centre Activity over time
  17. 17. Digital Media Research Centre Other hashtags
  18. 18. Digital Media Research Centre Top domains
  19. 19. Digital Media Research Centre YouTube
  20. 20. Digital Media Research Centre YouTube Rieder, B. (2015). YouTube Data Tools
  21. 21. Digital Media Research Centre YouTube video network (Rieder, 2015; Gephi)
  22. 22. Digital Media Research Centre YouTube video network - #gamergate controversy cluster
  23. 23. Digital Media Research Centre Conclusion • Issue mapping helps to identify important media objects in a controversy. By combining network analysis and content analysis it is possible to get beyond the loudest voices • Acute controversies help to understand the dynamics of public communication around an ongoing discussion: they reanimate issue publics and open the debate to new publics • The Law & Order SVU episode links the gamergate controversy beyond itself to other debates about media, culture and society
  24. 24. Digital Media Research Centre References Bruns, A., & Burgess, J. (2015). Twitter hashtags from ad hoc to calculated publics. In Rambukkana, N. (Ed.) Hashtag Publics. New York: Peter Lang. (in press) Bruns, A., Burgess, J., & Highfield, T. (2014). A 'Big Data' Approach to Mapping the Australian Twittersphere. In K. Bode & P. Arthur (Eds.), (Re)purposing the (Digital) Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (pp. 113-29). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Burgess, J. (2014). From ‘Broadcast yourself’ to ‘Follow your interests’: Making over social media. International Journal of Cultural Studies, XX Burgess, J. (2008). All your chocolate rain are belong to us: viral video, YouTube and the dynamics of participatory culture. In G. Lovink & S. Niederer (Eds.), Video Vortex Reader: Responses to YouTube (pp. 101–109). Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. Burgess, J., & Bruns, A. (2015). Easy data, hard data: The politics and pragmatics of Twitter research after the computational turn. In G. Langlois, J. Redden, & G. Elmer Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data (pp. XX-XX). London: Bloomsbury Press. Burgess, J., Galloway, A. & Sauter, T. (2015). Hashtag as hybrid forum: the case of #agchatoz. In N. Rambukkana (Eds.) Hashtag Publics. New York: Peter Lang (in press, available at Callon, M., Lascoumes, P., Barth, Y. (2001). Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Driscoll, K., & Thorson, K. (2015). Searching and clustering methodologies connecting political communication content across platforms. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 659(1): 134-48. Farrell, H. (2014) New problems, new publics? Dewey and new media. Policy & Internet 6(2): 176-191. Gillespie, T. (2014). The relevance of algorithms. In T. Gillespie, P. Boczkowski, & K. Foot (Eds.), Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (pp. 167-194). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Latour, B. (1987) Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Livingstone, S. (2005). On the relation between audiences and publics. In: S. Livingstone (Ed.) Audiences and Publics: When Cultural Engagement Matters for the Public Sphere (pp. 17- 41). Bristol: Intellect Books. Marres, N. (2015) Why map issues? On controversy analysis as a digital method. Science, Technology and Human Values. [online before print doi: 10.1177/0162243915574602] Marres, N. (2012). Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics. London: Palgrave. Papacharissi, Z. (2010). A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age. Cambridge: Polity Press. Rogers, R. (2013). Digital methods. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Rogers, R., & Marres, N. (2000). Landscaping climate change: A mapping technique for understanding science and technology debates on the World Wide Web. Public Understanding of Science 9(2), 141–163. Venturini, T. (2010). Diving in magma: How to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science 19(3): 258–273. Venturini, T. (2012) Building on faults: How to represent controversies with digital methods. Public Understanding of Science 21(7): 796-812. Warner, M. (2005). Publics and Counterpublics. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.
  25. 25. Digital Media Research Centre Tools YouTube video network analysis: Rieder, B. (2015). YouTube Data Tools. Computer software. Vers. 1.0. N.p., 5 May 2015 <> Tumblr tag network analysis: Rieder, B. (2015). TumblrTool. Computer software. Updated 3 July 2015 <>QUT installation of Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolkit (DMI-TCAT) - Charts and basic analytics: Tableau Network visualisations: Gephi Slide 11 Image credits
  26. 26. Digital Media Research Centre Thanks! Jean Burgess @jeanburgess Ariadna Matamoros @andairamf @qutdmrc