ARTICLE: How to study news reading on Twitter?

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Collaboration between computer and communication scientists can be very fruitful in investigating social media, Mathias Verbeke, Bettina Berendt, Leen d’Haenens and Michaël Opgenhaffen, all of University of Leuven, write. The authors’ new article reviews currently available methodologies and presents their own, devised for and used in a study of news reading on Twitter.

The authors’ case study used a tool constructed by the team, called TwiNeR, which can analyse tweets’ components and use their compositions to categorize them. This categorization, then, can be used to describe the extant networks in different social spheres.

In their case study, the authors investigated user agency in relation to mainstream news. Their findings demonstrate that on Twitter “users play a much larger
role than the sources themselves in spreading news-related content”. Furthermore, the authors conclude that the trajectories of Twitter-discussions are set at the earliest stages of interaction: the longer the chain of re-tweets grows, the less commentary is added.

The article “Critical news reading with Twitter?” was published by the journal Communications. The article is available online from the publisher’s website (abstract free) or from ResearchGate (open access).

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