Communicating in 140 Characters. How Journalists in Spain use Twitter
Keywords:Communication, journalism, social networks, digital communication, interactivity, Twitter, microblogging
The emergence of Twitter appears to be changing information practices. Hence, a great deal of recent research is based on its popularity among communicators, reaching the conclusion that it serves to increase interactivity with readers. But to what degree is it true that it contributes to a type of journalism which is more open to the public? This research aims especially to clarify two main questions: what specific uses do journalists make of Twitter and to what extent does twoway interaction with the public take place through this medium? It is based on the quantitative analysis of a sample comprising almost 5 million tweets posted by 1,504 Spanish media communicators, perhaps the largest sample studied so far. The analysis shows the existence of a twospeed Twitter (with a minority of influential communicators and a majority who have little impact), which has negligible interaction with followers. With few exceptions, the communicators establish endogamous relationships on Twitter. They respond to mention and retweet colleagues, failing to take advantage of the multidirectional potential offered by the platform. This research expands the empirical basis which can be used to consider and discuss the scope and limits of user participation in information events. Many authors have theorized on this subject, perhaps too enthusiastically and arguably from a somewhat utopian perspective..