December 14, 2017

New Research Article: How Do Digital Humanities Scholars Use Twitter?

The following full text article appears in the SAGE journal, Big Data and Society.

Title

Networks of digital humanities scholars: The informational and social uses and gratifications of Twitter

Authors
Anabel Quan-Haase
The University of Western Ontario

Kim Martin
The University of Western Ontario

Lori McCay-Peet
The University of Western Ontario

Source
Big Data and SocietyJune 2015

Abstract

Big Data research is currently split on whether and to what extent Twitter can be characterized as an informational or social network. We contribute to this line of inquiry through an investigation of digital humanities (DH) scholars’ uses and gratifications of Twitter.

We conducted a thematic analysis of 25 semi-structured interview transcripts to learn about these scholars’ professional use of Twitter. Our findings show that Twitter is considered a critical tool for informal communication within DH invisible colleges, functioning at varying levels as both an information network (learning to ‘Twitter’ and maintaining awareness) and a social network (imagining audiences and engaging other digital humanists). We find that Twitter follow relationships reflect common academic interests and are closely tied to scholars’ pre-existing social ties and conference or event co-attendance. The concept of the invisible college continues to be relevant but requires revisiting. The invisible college formed on Twitter is messy, consisting of overlapping social contexts (professional, personal and public), scholars with different habits of engagement, and both formal and informal ties.

Our research illustrates the value of using multiple methods to explore the complex questions arising from Big Data studies and points toward future research that could implement Big Data techniques on a small scale, focusing on sub-topics or emerging fields, to expose the nature of scholars’ invisible colleges made visible on Twitter.

Direct to Full Text Article
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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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