Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Tweeters analysed in social study

Celebrity tweeters on social networking sites will be examined to see how they engage with their audiences

The musings of serial tweeters such as Stephen Fry and Britney Spears will be analysed in a new study about identity construction and social media, researchers have said.

A total of 15,000 posts from 30 of the most popular celebrities on the social networking and microblogging site Twitter will be examined to see how they engage with their audiences.

Ruth Page, from the school of English at the University of Leicester, will also look at tweets from Sarah Brown, Lily Allen and Jamie Oliver as part of her research into how stories are told through the different forms of social media, including blogs, discussion forums and Facebook.

Dr Page said: "Telling stories is a human impulse. Through social media, millions of people are telling their own stories every day in status updates, tweets and blogs.

"Social media is a phenomenon of our time so it is important to make sense of it. It magnifies social interactions and can tell us a lot about ourselves and how our relationships function."

Celebrities use Twitter not only to create an illusion of immediacy and proximity with their audience, Dr Page added, but also because it amplifies their professional status.

The research shows a difference between Facebook and Twitter, which are often seen as identical in the public eye.

Dr Page added: "Whereas the former is used as a private social network, the latter is essentially an online environment for public news dissemination."

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