Many of us who blog (as I do here), and maintain presences on other social media (see my About.me profile), live quite openly online. We share our opinions with whoever wants to ‘listen’ to our multiple streams across various social media. However, bloggers/tweeters/blippers do not know exactly who is ‘listening’ to them, nor why the ‘listeners’ are engaged in the ‘listening’. Of course, on some platforms, such as WordPress, we can track our hits, monitor the routes that people take to reach our content, and watch click-through statistics. We also develop relationships with others who comment on our posts frequently and directly. But what of the others who listen but leave no trail?
Within the Centre for Social Informatics we are currently investigating this question with reference to the re-tweeting of political opinion content. Our focus is online interactions with political opinion writing, commentary and analysis (ePunditry). We’re interested in answering a number of questions such as why particular content is highly likely to be disseminated over wide distances through multiple retweets, and whether or not tweeters consider retweeting an endorsement of personal opinion. The study forms part of our AHRC-funded Informing the Good Society (InGSoc) project.
If you would like to contribute to the study by completing a short (5 minute) survey, we would love to hear from you. And, of course, in the spirit of the study, do please feel free to pass the survey link on to others so that they can also contribute their opinion.