Dude food vs superfood: we’re cultural omnivores

food

Australia appears to be simultaneously embracing very contradictory food trends. We lick our fingers after an all-American feast of gourmet burgers, freakshakes, doughnuts and ribs, but repent for our sins with a kale smoothie and a cauliflower-base pizza.

Early in 2016, In-N-Out’s Sydney popup store prompted six-hour lines and sarcastic editorials. A month later, another burger chain from the United States, Carl’s Jr, opened on the New South Wales Central Coast. Gourmet doughnut chain Doughnut Time opened to long lines in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley last year and has since opened more stores in Queensland, as well as in New South Wales and Victoria. And Canberra café Pâtissez is largely credited with the emergence of the freakshake in Australia.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The end of solitude

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Does digital communication connect or isolate audiences? Do we fully understand the psychological impacts smartphones have on society? Is corporate social responsibility being co-opted by big business and the political elite? And do demonstrations in Hong Kong represent anti-China sentiment, or are they part of a larger class struggle?
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Narrating the creative workforce

Creative Company Conference 2011. Image source: Sebastiaan ter Burg

Creative Company Conference 2011. Image source: Sebastiaan ter Burg

We might call them the cultural creatives. They work in creative services jobs like design or advertising; or in cultural production jobs like film, performing arts and media. Perhaps surprisingly, the largest number of these jobs are not in companies in these fields, but are spread right across the Australian economy in industries like manufacturing, retail and education.
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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.
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You want fries with that? Creative careers are still out there, for now

Old stereotypes about the career prospects for arts graduates need to be retired. 1000 anuncios de publicidad y más…CC BY-NC-ND

The old jokes about creative arts and humanities graduates serving at the local fast food outlet are hard to put to rest – they speak to long-held concerns around the value of creative degrees, and to worries that students of creative arts programs aren’t employable when they graduate.

But soon-to-be released national graduate tracking research findings conducted by my research team at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation show that, while Australian creative arts graduates can take a while to settle in to their careers, their outcomes are actually very good.
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