Researching with Twitter timeline data

A demonstration via “everyday” socio-political talk around welfare provision

Phillip Brooker, Julie Barnett, John Vines, Shaun Lawson, Tom Feltwell, Kiel Long, Gavin Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Increasingly, social media platforms are understood by researchers to be valuable sites of politically-relevant discussions. However, analyses of social media data are typically undertaken by focusing on ‘snapshots’ of issues using query-keyword search strategies. This paper develops an alternative, less issue-based, mode of analysing Twitter data. It provides a framework for working qualitatively with longitudinally-oriented Twitter data (user-timelines), and uses an empirical case to consider the value and the challenges of doing so. Exploring how Twitter users place “everyday” talk around the socio-political issue of UK welfare provision, we draw on digital ethnography and narrative analysis techniques to analyse 25 user-timelines and identify three distinctions in users’ practices: users’ engagements with welfare as TV entertainment or as a socio-political concern; the degree of sustained engagement with said issues, and; the degree to which users’ tweeting practices around welfare were congruent with or in contrast to their other tweets. With this analytic orientation, we demonstrate how a longitudinal analysis of user-timelines provides rich resources that facilitate a more nuanced understanding of user engagement in everyday socio-political discussions online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBig Data and Society
Volume5
Issue number1
Early online date3 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • digital ethnography
  • digital methods
  • narrative analysis
  • Social media analytics
  • social welfare
  • socio-political issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this

Researching with Twitter timeline data : A demonstration via “everyday” socio-political talk around welfare provision. / Brooker, Phillip; Barnett, Julie; Vines, John; Lawson, Shaun; Feltwell, Tom; Long, Kiel; Wood, Gavin.

In: Big Data and Society, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2018, p. 1-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brooker, Phillip ; Barnett, Julie ; Vines, John ; Lawson, Shaun ; Feltwell, Tom ; Long, Kiel ; Wood, Gavin. / Researching with Twitter timeline data : A demonstration via “everyday” socio-political talk around welfare provision. In: Big Data and Society. 2018 ; Vol. 5, No. 1. pp. 1-13.
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