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Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis (#diata11)

14.-15. September, 2011, Düsseldorf, Germany

Convened by the Junior Researchers Group "Science and the Internet" ( and the Media Ecologies and Methodological Innovation Project (


Browse the workshop program (including slides and abstracts) here or download it as a PDF.

Reflections on DIATA11 by Axel BrunsAxel Maireder and Jan Schmidt.


Since its launch in 2006 Twitter has turned from a niche service to a mass phenomenon.The service is estimated to have at least 80 million users who post over 65 million tweets per day and is increasingly used as a source of information and place of debate in news, politics, business and entertainment around the world. In addition to areas such as journalism, marketing, political activism and disaster response, millions of private users chat with their friends and share photos via Twitter, using the service as a virtual log of their thoughts and activities. The massive amount of data generated by Twitter users, both private and professional, opens up exciting new possibilities of study in a variety of disciplines. Rich data sets can be retrieved and subsequently mined with specialized tools (programming languages, statistics packages, network analysis frameworks, text and data mining tools) via the Twitter API. However, the opportunities of these new approaches are matched by challenges in relation to aspects such as long-term availability of data, research ethics, interpretation of user-generated information and the relation of qualitative and quantitative, as well as user-based and content-based research approaches.

The one and a half day workshop is jointly convened by NFGWin and the Media Ecologies Project under the ATN-DAAD Australia Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme will seek to address these challenges and bring together researchers from different disciplines (broadly, from the Social Sciences and Humanities) investigating Twitter or using Twitter as a source of data. Workshop themes will include, but not be limited to:

Research areas

  • political activism and engagement
  • disaster response and preparedness
  • relation of social and mass media / journalism
  • user generated content / co-creation
  • memes and socio-communicative practices
  • privacy and identity management
  • (micro)celebrity

New and established research methods

  • data retrieval and storage via the Twitter API with cURL, Ruby, Python, R, …
  • using cloud-based services for automated harvesting
  • tools for data mining and visualization
  • machine learning and categorization procedures
  • qualitative vs. quantitative, content-based vs. user-based research approaches: where to use what
  • qualitative analysis of twitter events
  • user interviews / ethnographic approaches
  • user surveys * ethics and legal issues

Invited participants (all confirmed)

  • Julian Ausserhofer, Graz University of Applied Sciences
  • Christoph Bieber, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology
  • Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology
  • Piet Daas, Statistics Netherlands
  • Mark Dang-Anh, University of Bonn
  • Evelyn Dröge, University of Düsseldorf
  • Jessica Einspänner, University of Bonn
  • Stephen Harrington, Queensland University of Technology
  • Andreas Jungherr, University of Bamberg
  • Katrin Jungnickel, TU Ilmenau
  • Anders Larsson, University of Uppsala
  • Matteo Magnani, University of Bologna
  • Axel Maireder, University of Vienna
  • Christoph Neuberger, University of Munich
  • Jan Schmidt, Hans-Bredow Institut für Medienforschung, Hamburg


We would like to receive an abstract (~200 words) of your presentation at the workshop by August 1st, 2011. Please send your abstact to We will post a detailed program on the workshop website soon after receiving your abstracts.


The workshop proper consisting of 10-15 presentations and two roundtable discussions will commence at 1pm on the 14th and wrap up by around 4.30pm on the 15th, leaving enough time for most participants to spend just one night in Düsseldorf (of course, you're more than welcome to stay longer!).

Hands-on coding session on the morning of the first day

Prior to the opening session on the 14th at 1pm there will be a hands-on coding session in the morning from 10am to 12am. Interested participants will get a practical whirlwind introduction to extracting and visualizing Twitter data using tools such as Gawk, R and Gephi. Please let us know in advance via email if you are interesting in participating in the coding session.

Travel and accomodations

Düsseldorf is located in northwestern Germany close to Cologne and the Dutch border. Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) one of the largest in Germany and is located only about ten minutes outside of the city via public transportation. The workshop will take place at the University of Düsseldorf, in the main conference room of the University and State Library.

The following hotels have good ratings on various websites and are moderately priced

Max Hotel Garni [LINK]. This hotel is located close to the central station and the city center. It takes a bit under 20 minutes by tram from the hotel to the campus.

Hotel Düsseldorf City [LINK] This one is located closer to the university, which may be more convenient. The campus is in walking distance, though you might still want to take the tram as the campus is fairly large.

Please note that are no workshop fees, but that we will not be able to reimburse you or cover travel/lodging expenses (coffee, Internet access and other existential necessities will of course be provided). We plan to keep the event fairly small in size to facilitate cooperation and exchange of ideas, which is why there is no public call, but do let us know if you have colleagues who you think would like to participate. We don't plan to publish proceedings at this point, but will ask you for a short abstract a month before the workshop. Our rationale is to discuss work in progress and exchange ideas on methodological issues -- if there a consensus that we should publish something we can make arrangements.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with Cornelius Puschmann ( if you have any questions or need assistance with your travel arrangements.

DIATA11 Program and Abstracts *corrected*287.53 KB