When countries become the talking point in microblogs: Study on country hashtags in Twitter

  • Aravind Sesagiri Raamkumar Nanyang Technological University
  • Natalie Pang Nanyang Technological University
  • Schubert Foo Nanyang Technological University
Keywords: Country Hashtags, Twitter Hashtags, Hashtag Studies, Microblogs

Abstract

Hashtags are placeholder features for capturing the underlying themes in microblog posts. Prior studies have investigated the conversation dynamics, interplay with other media platforms and communication patterns between users for specific event-based hashtags. Commonplace hashtags have been largely ignored, albeit the utility of these hashtags is the main reason behind their continued usage. This study aims to understand the rationale behind the usage of a particular type of commonplace hashtags, namely country hashtags. Manual tweet classification was performed on twitter extracts, to identify the themes of tweets containing three country hashtags. Eleven categories were identified with varied rankings conditioned by factors such as national interest, tourist attractions and cross-media sharing, across the three countries. Network analysis was employed to identify the underlying network types. Broadcast networks and tight crowd networks were identified as the prominent types. Findings will inform subsequent studies on national topics oriented discussions in social media.

Author Biographies

Aravind Sesagiri Raamkumar, Nanyang Technological University

Aravind Sesagiri Raamkumar is a Doctoral Student in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He received his Masters of Science in Knowledge Management from Nanyang Technological University. His research interests include Recommender Systems, Information Retrieval, Social Media and Linked Data. 

Natalie Pang, Nanyang Technological University

Natalie Pang is an Assistant Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and Principal Investigator at the Centre of Social Media Innovations for Communities (COSMIC) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She received her PhD from Monash University, where her dissertation also won two awards. She researches in the area of social informatics, focusing on the informational use and impacts of social media, information behaviour in contexts of uncertainty and crises, and structurational models of technology in in marginalised communities such as older adults and people with disabilities. She has won a top paper at ISIC:The Information Behaviour Conference, the leading conference on information behaviour, and also a research commercialisation award at NTU. She has applied her research on social media to understanding online learning behaviour in the classroom, and teaches courses in social informatics, information management, qualitative research methods, information behaviour, and records management.

Schubert Foo, Nanyang Technological University
Schubert Foo is Professor of Information Science at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  He received his B.Sc.(Hons), M.B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde, UK. He is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered IT Professional, Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Fellow of the British Computer Society. He has authored more than 250 publications in the areas of multimedia technology, Internet technology, multilingual information retrieval, digital libraries, information literacy and social media research. He is the current Director of the Centre of Social Media Innovations for Communities at NTU.
Published
2016-01-12
How to Cite
Sesagiri Raamkumar, A., Pang, N., & Foo, S. (2016). When countries become the talking point in microblogs: Study on country hashtags in Twitter. First Monday, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v21i1.6101