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#twinkletweet: The use of
hashtags by astrophysicists
on Twitter
Bowman, T.D.*, Peters, I., Haustein, S., & Holmberg, K.
Understanding Twitter: The Basics

• 2006 – Twitter reports 200 million active users creating 400 million tweets
each day ...
Scholarly Activity/ Altmetrics

• In today's world scholars gather information from more sources than just
traditional jou...
Twitter Affordances: @, #,

• Scholars can make use of affordances in Twitter to add context and meaning
to their communic...
In-Depth Analysis: Research Questions

• R1: Which hashtags are popular among astrophysicists?
• R2: Is the use of hashtag...
Data was Collected from 37 Astrophysicists on Twitter

• 37 Astrophysicists were identified in two previous studies

(Holm...
Preliminary In-depth Analysis of 37 Astrophysicists
Num of Total Tweets
Num of Tweets w/Hashtags
Num of Unique Hashtags
Nu...
Top Ten Hashtags
HASHTAG

#fb
#stfc
#AstroFact
#jwst
#math
#twinkletweet
#nasa
#scipolicy
#aas218
#hubble

NUM OF
OCCURREN...
What we found
•

R1: Which hashtags are popular among astrophysicists?

We identified the Top 10 Hashtags in this sample

...
#astropixie
"Astronomers can engage in
conversations with members
of the public, from any part of the
world, socioeconomic...
So What?

• Scholars are using Twitter but we aren't quite sure how and why they are
using it

• Altmetrics is a concept t...
Haustein, S., Bowman, T.D., Holmberg, K., Larivière, V., & Peters, I., (submitted).
Astrophysicists on Twitter: An in-dept...
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Sigmet twinkletweet presentation

  1. 1. #twinkletweet: The use of hashtags by astrophysicists on Twitter Bowman, T.D.*, Peters, I., Haustein, S., & Holmberg, K.
  2. 2. Understanding Twitter: The Basics • 2006 – Twitter reports 200 million active users creating 400 million tweets each day (Wickre, 2013). • Pew found that 18% of online adults use Twitter and that all age groups are showing an increase in usage. (Brenner & Smith, 2013) • 1,372 faculty members from higher education and surveyed and 35% respondents reported using Twitter(Faculty Focus, 2010) • Veletsianos and Kimmons (2012) argue that current Twitter research gives us little information on: • • • Faculty experiences and participation in SNS Faculty find to be valuable in SNS The barriers and issues faculty face when adopting these SNS
  3. 3. Scholarly Activity/ Altmetrics • In today's world scholars gather information from more sources than just traditional journals, meetings , and peers. (Thelwall, 2012) • Altmetric measurements are increasingly advocated and used as early indicators of article impact and usefulness. (Thelwall, et al., 2013) • Researchers have shown that mentions on social media and citations were not identical in terms of impact. (Haustein et al., in press; Thelwall, et al., 2013) • There are disciplinary differences in the tweeting behaviors of scholars. • Little is known about the extent to which social media are used in scholarly communication.
  4. 4. Twitter Affordances: @, #, • Scholars can make use of affordances in Twitter to add context and meaning to their communications. • The three widely known and often used affordances in Twitter are: • @ symbol – used to direct messages at user(s) and/or to reply to user(s) • # hashtag – used to contextualize or categorize the message • retweet – used to resend another's tweet • Research on hashtags has shown that they are found in a relatively large portion of Twitter messages.
  5. 5. In-Depth Analysis: Research Questions • R1: Which hashtags are popular among astrophysicists? • R2: Is the use of hashtags dependent on the tweeting behavior of astrophysicists? • R3: To what extent do astrophysicists use hashtags during tweeting? • R4: Do communities evolve around hashtags (reflected by strong hashtag sharing behavior)?
  6. 6. Data was Collected from 37 Astrophysicists on Twitter • 37 Astrophysicists were identified in two previous studies (Holmberg, 2013, in press; Holmberg & Thelwall, 2013, in press). • Up to 3,200 tweets were download for each astrophysicist • • The entire set of tweets made by 25 astrophysicists were collected The most recent 3,200 tweets were collected for the remaining 12 • 68,232 of a possible total of 289,368 tweets were analyzed to determine #hashtag use
  7. 7. Preliminary In-depth Analysis of 37 Astrophysicists Num of Total Tweets Num of Tweets w/Hashtags Num of Unique Hashtags Num of Hashtags Used Only Once % of Top Ten Hashtags Used % of Tweets w/Hashtags Using Unique Hashtags 68,232 15,983 4,301 3,050 19.3% 43.7% On average, 23.42% of tweets tweeted by astrophysicists contain at least one hashtag
  8. 8. Top Ten Hashtags HASHTAG #fb #stfc #AstroFact #jwst #math #twinkletweet #nasa #scipolicy #aas218 #hubble NUM OF OCCURRENCES 546 410 349 339 332 284 257 216 194 164 NUM OF USERS 14 6 2 17 5 1 8 3 5 4 BREAKDOWN 507, 12, 9, 5, <3 321, 49, 37, 1.. 348, 1 173, 63, 45, 13, 10, <10 324, 4, 3, 1. 284 169, 26, 13, 10, <10 208, 6, 2 140, 48, 3, 2, 1 142, 11, 8, 1
  9. 9. What we found • R1: Which hashtags are popular among astrophysicists? We identified the Top 10 Hashtags in this sample • R2: Is the use of hashtags dependent on the tweeting behavior of astrophysicists? Regular Twitter users tended to add hashtags to their tweets more often than infrequent users. • R3: To what extent do astrophysicists use hashtags during tweeting? On average, approximatley 23% of tweets contained at least one hashtag • R4: Do communities evolve around hashtags (reflected by strong hashtag sharing behavior)? Our results suggest that the astrophysicist community is not sharing hashtags; we found a high number of unique hashtags used only once suggesting quite the opposite
  10. 10. #astropixie "Astronomers can engage in conversations with members of the public, from any part of the world, socioeconomic scale, age, or gender. This type of open access to scientists has not been previously available, and I have personally found it to be more rewarding than anything." (Bauer, 2012, p. 4)
  11. 11. So What? • Scholars are using Twitter but we aren't quite sure how and why they are using it • Altmetrics is a concept that has gained traction, but it can be argued that scholars are not quite sure what value altmetrics provides. • Affordances exist in Twitter that allow people to frame and contextualize their tweets • In-depth analyses of affordances in Twitter at this time with this sample of astrophysicists yields useful insight
  12. 12. Haustein, S., Bowman, T.D., Holmberg, K., Larivière, V., & Peters, I., (submitted). Astrophysicists on Twitter: An in-depth analysis of tweeting and scientific publication behavior. Aslib Proceedings Thank You Any Questions?

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