Abstract & Introduction

Abstract

We have been researching the online trend of Hashtags and its particular use on social media networks for breaking news in the following trend analysis. The research project consists of the researching trend analysis, making use of netnography to gather additional data. The history of hashtags and how they were invented is looked into, investigating how popular they have become, how people use them and how it affects how we learn about breaking news and what this means for the news related media outlets. We first start with doing academic and background research on the topic for a research proposal, creating a Gephi-file and making use of Netvizz for data scraping purposes, collecting and coding important data as part of netnography and then finally creating a research report with all recommendations related to the hashtag trend.

Introduction & Background

Nowadays, the impact and importance of hashtag-usage within social networks such as Twitter is growing steadily. Especially when it comes to postings about the latest worldwide news, mainstream media as well as user-generated content are making use of hashtags. This is not only to simplify today’s access to the daily news, but also to categorize world events, allowing users to make sense of it in the most efficient way. Using hashtags when approaching the world of news – either as a creator or consumer of content – reveals diverse search outcomes, enabling users to reflect on the news coverage from different angles.

The trend of accessing news through hashtag usage is mainly driven by the public wish to read about daily events in the most ‘unfiltered’ and ‘raw’ way, avoiding poor topic coverage through mainstream and print media or even untruthful reporting. Back in 2007, Chris Messina, a social technology innovator, was the first one to ever use a hashtag on Twitter (#barcamp).

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This hashtag was invented to bundle conversations about Barcamp, a global technology unconference function (Kirkpatrick, 2011). Ever since then, the trend to use hashtags with all kinds of Twitter posts lead to its utilization when reporting or talking about latest news.

But what role does this development play in our daily social media routine? How do people make sense of it and what is the trend prognosis regarding hashtags and news coverage for the future? This analysis thereby focuses on investigating the differences between hashtag habits per country and what mainly drives this trend, taking the example of e.g. the Paris terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015 and what mainly drives this trend. The research paper at hand means to answer these questions, providing the reader with profound research outcomes and presenting a solid trend analysis on how hashtags are replacing the way we learn about breaking news.

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