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Twitter and Society

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Edited By Katrin Weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt and Cornelius Puschmann

This book has won the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award 2014.

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has evolved from a niche service to a mass phenomenon; it has become instrumental for everyday communication as well as for political debates, crisis communication, marketing, and cultural participation. But the basic idea behind it has stayed the same: users may post short messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters and follow the updates posted by other users. Drawing on the experience of leading international Twitter researchers from a variety of disciplines and contexts, this is the first book to document the various notions and concepts of Twitter communication, providing a detailed and comprehensive overview of current research into the uses of Twitter. It also presents methods for analyzing Twitter data and outlines their practical application in different research contexts.

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Twitter and Society: An Introduction Katrin Weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt, & Cornelius Puschmann xxix

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^Katrin weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt, & Cornelius Puschmann InTro- ducTIon Twitter and Society: An Introduction Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has turned from a niche service to a mass phe- nomenon. By the beginning of 2013, the platform claims to have more than 200 million active users, who “post over 400 million tweets per day” (Twitter, 2013). Its success is spreading globally; Twitter is now available in 33 differ- ent languages, and has significantly increased its support for languages that use non-Latin character sets. While Twitter, Inc. has occasionally changed the appearance of the service and added new features—often in reaction to users’ developing their own conventions, such as adding ‘#’ in front of important key- words to tag them—the basic idea behind the service has stayed the same: users may post short messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters and follow the updates posted by other users. This leads to the formation of complex follower networks with unidirectional as well as bidirectional connections between individuals, welcome to #twitsocbook, welcome to Twitter research! (Pls RT.) interior_Bruns_postproofread.indd 29 10/15/13 9:09 AM xxx | Twitter and Society but also between media outlets, NGOs, and other organisations. While origi- nally ‘microblogs’ were perceived as a new genre of online communication, of which Twitter was just one exemplar, the platform has become synonymous with microblogging in most countries. A notable exception is Sina Weibo, popular in China where Twitter is not available. Other similar platforms have been...

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