About Axel Bruns

Dr Axel Bruns leads the QUT Social Media Research Group. He is an Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co-editor of A Companion to New Media Dynamics and Uses of Blogs (2006). He is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. His research Website is at snurb.info, and he tweets as @snurb_dot_info.

ATNIX: Australian Twitter News Index, August 2016

As the 2016 federal election campaign recedes into memory, online engagement with the news in Australia has returned to what passes for normality these days. This is also reflected in the news sharing activities we are able to observe in the Australian Twitter News Index for August: the long-term patterns of how Twitter users’ attention is distributed across the leading news sites in the country continue to hold.

As this month’s data show, ABC News remains by far the most widely shared Australian news site, followed by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation, whose numbers are as always substantially inflated by its large and growing international userbase. Further down the order, news.com.au has moved ahead of The Age again, reflecting perhaps the shift of focus away from sharing political news during the election campaign – an area that might be seen as the natural domain of The Age.
Read more

ATNIX: Australian Twitter News Index, November/December 2015

The Australian Twitter News Index for 2015 concludes with a double helping that covers both November and December – a time when the sharing of news stories on Twitter usually begins its slow decline towards the holiday season. These patterns are sustained in 2015 as well, although the drop-off in news engagement is more pronounced for some sites than for others: stories by Twitter market leaders ABC News and Sydney Morning Herald are shared considerably less in the weeks before and after Christmas, while third-placed source news.com.au experiences fairly little variation from week to week.
Read more

Crisis communication: saving time and lives in disasters through smarter social media

Bushfire image courtesy bertknot, Flickr

Bushfire image courtesy bertknot, Flickr

Joint article by Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology and Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

As the worst bushfires seen for generations in New South Wales raged across the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and the Central Coast two years ago, people urgently needed fast, reliable information – and many turned to their phones to get it.

The NSW Rural Fire Service was prepared with a smartphone app, Fires Near Me, which was downloaded almost 200,000 times. At the height of the fires, its Facebook page was recording more than a million views an hour.
Read more

#returnbull: How Twitter Reacted to the Latest Leadership Spill


Australian Parliament House. Image source: Madeleine Deaton, Flickr

Australian political observers will not need to be alerted to the fact that we have a new Prime Minister: Monday afternoon, former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership, and later that night won a party room ballot in a 54 to 44 decision. As with the previous leadership spills (from Rudd to Gillard in 2010, and from Gillard to Rudd in 2013), social media – and especially Twitter – once again played an important role in tracking this unfolding story across many different rumours and reports. Here’s how they did it.
Read more

Apple News could change the news business – will readers win?

Image source: Johan Larsson, Flickr

Image source: Johan Larsson, Flickr

In the early days of Web 2.0, the arrival of blogs and similar sites heralded an explosion in the number of news feeds we could follow. But such abundance also came at a price: it became increasingly difficult to keep up with all this content without having to browse at length from site to site every day.

In response, a friendly acronym briefly flourished: Rich Site Summary, better known as Really Simple Syndication or RSS. Coupled with a feed reader tool, RSS enables users to quickly scan the headlines and click through only to those stories that pique their interest.
Read more

ATNIX: Australian Twitter News Index, February 2015

Australian Twitter News Index, Feb. 2015
Axel Bruns / QUT Social Media Research Group

February 2015 has been a tumultuous month in Australian news, not least because of the continuing leadership debate (and defeated spill motion) in the federal Liberal Party following the LNP’s unexpected defeat in the Queensland state election on 31 January. As expected, these and other events also affect the patterns observed in our Australian Twitter News Index (ATNIX) and in the overall Australian online news readership patterns tracked by Experian Hitwise.
Read more

First Survey Finds 2.8 Million Twitter Accounts in Australia

Image courtesy Jennie, Flickr

Twitter image courtesy Jennie, Flickr

For a social media platform which has assumed such a prominent space in public debate and popular media, we still know remarkably little about the structure and demographics of Twitter in Australia. Hashtags may be everywhere from the ABC’s Q&A talk show to the A-League Grand Final, and prominent politicians, journalists, sports stars, and other celebrities have all joined in droves, but how many of us are actually active on the platform, and what do we do there? Except for some well-publicised uses (from television audiencing through crisis communication to political debate), we still know very little.
Read more

#spill: How Twitter reacted to the Labor leadership challenge

There has been a leadership change in the Australian Labor Party, again, and as a result the country has a new, old, Prime Minister: Kevin Rudd. As with the 2010 leadership spill, which we touched on here, there was a great deal of activity on Twitter during the event: the #spill hashtag, in particular, served as one forum through which rumours, information, commentary, and snark were shared in some quantity.
Read more