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Tracing Twitter: The rise of a microblogging platform

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This article uses ‘interpretative flexibility’ as a concept to analyse the early development of one specific microblogging site: Twitter. By tracing microblogging’s instable meaning in its early years (2006–10), we try to understand how the platform’s meaning was shaped by a variety of human and non-human actors: technological design, usage, content and business models. By tracking microblogging’s instable meaning in its infant years, we may get a fuller understanding of how this new technology plays out in a complex Internet milieu of push-and-pull forces. Reconstructing interpretative flexibility while the technology is still in flux – and thus open to manoeuvring – may give rise to new perspectives on how power relationships transpire in a networked environment.

Keywords: Twitter; Web 2.0; business models; interface design; media technologies; microblogging; networking theory; social networking sites

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: 2011-12-20

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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