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