Affective Publics

Presented by Zizi Papacharissi

University of Illinois-Chicago professor Zizi Papacharissi was one of the first people to do a large scale research study through Twitter. The study was on the Twitter coverage of the Egyptian uprising beginning in 2011.

She studied how people used Twitter as a news reporting mechanism and established a ‘news values’ guide use of twitter by establishing it either as breaking news, or premeditated news.

Photo by Garrett Loomis

She also surveyed how Twitter performed as a news sharing mechanism. Acting as an electronic word of mouth by broadcasting and ‘listening in’ on uprisings.

Her style and experimentation on the medium in which she was sampling was something new and revolutionary…

“in order to change our constitutions we have to re-imagine them first”.

In particular, she was studying the way in which people went about Tweeting News Values. News Values are things that turn events into stories.

Some of the sample sizes she was was working with were into the millions. Which she says is nothing compared to the sample sizes researchers are using in the present day (only 5 years later).

Photo by Garrett Loomis

The term repeated over and again was affect. Affect is known as the emotion intensity subjectively experienced that is connected to processes of premeditation(i.e. emotional anticipation of events prior to their occurrence).

Affects can also be described as the differences that we feel within the; news, facts, drama, opinion, and emotion all blended into one.

Style and form of the tweets; Rhyme and pace of story telling, instant, emotive. Repetition is what sets the pace and fuels the intensity of a Tweet or message linked on Twitter. Twitter has become a complementary medium where oral and print culture combine for storytelling.

Affect is a layer and reaction. She found that its a place for citizens to feel their place in the story. Furthermore it can drive feelings of community.

Zizi found that journalist aren’t the first to report the news anymore. Many times they are the last ones to report the news. Everyone in today's age has the power to be a journalist and primary source of the news.

“Technologies network us, but it is our stories that connect us. {Identify us}{divide us}”- Zizi Papacharissi

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