A Tweet by Any Other Frame: Three Approaches to Studying Educator Interactions on Twitter

ID: 50967 Type: Full Paper
  1. K. Bret Staudt Willet, Matthew J. Koehler, and Spencer P. Greenhalgh, Michigan State University, United States

Monday, March 6 4:15-4:45 PM Location: Tannehill View on map

Presider: Jane Hunter, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, Australia

Abstract: Every day, thousands of educators use Twitter to interact with each other. Yet, the research that examines these educator interactions on Twitter is nascent, in part because it is unclear how to theoretically conceptualize the nature of interactions occurring in just 140 characters. In this paper, we explore three of the most promising theoretical frameworks for studying interactions on Twitter: affinity spaces, media circuits, and social capital. We examine what each perspective emphasizes and how these important features can be operationalized in Twitter interactions. We exemplify how these theories might be used by applying each to a descriptive analysis of the interactions that occurred in the #Edchat hashtag during a 24-hour period (N = 7,509 tweets). We found that each theory highlighted different characteristics of #Edchat and that each had its own strengths and weaknesses. We discuss the implications of this work for further understanding educator interactions on Twitter.


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