Monday, June 4, 2012

Social media, identity and text visualisation

I'm going to be talking about my microblogging research in relation to identity and text visualisation in a plenary at ISFC this year. Abstract below...

Twitter, coffee, star trek, visualisation ....what could go wrong?! :)


Social media, identity and text visualisation

Discourse analysts working in the systemic functional tradition are called to explore “both the system and its instantiation in dynamic as well as in synoptic terms” (Halliday 2003: 196). In undertaking text analysis we are thus faced with the fundamental problem of how to account for the unfolding patterning of a text while at the same time achieving a synoptic overview. The problem is particularly pertinent for current work on identity from a discourse perspective that seeks to explain how personae are construed via intricate linguistic patterning. Exploring such text patterning is difficult for a human analyst as it requires tracking complex relationships in what is high dimensional data.

This talk will begin by considering how identities are construed in microblogging with a case study of Twitter ‘coffeetalk’ drawing on the concept of ‘coupling’ (collocations of evaluation and ideation) (Martin, 2000, Zappavigna et al. 2008, Knight, 2010, Zhao, 2010) to understand how microbloggers rally around shared values. I will then demonstrate how such concern with identity can be supported by automated appraisal analysis and text visualisation, using the computer system AppAnn to compare the coupling patterns of Spock and Captain Kirk in the television series, Star Trek. 

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