Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
C 8: Social Media Research & Methodology
Friday, 20/Mar/2015:
10:15 - 11:15

Session Chair: Brian Fabo, Centre For European Policy Studies
Location: Room 149
Fachhochschule Köln/ Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Claudiusstr. 1, 50678 Cologne


Development and Validation of a Scale for Social Exhibitionism on the Internet (SEXI)

Max Vetter1, Constanze Eib2, Sonja Hill-Kloß1, Philip Wollscheid1, Dirk Hagemann1

1Heidelberg University, Germany; 2Stockholm University, Sweden

Relevance & Research Question: The central aim of our research is to provide a reliable and valid scale to measure the degree of voluntary disclosure of private information (socially exhibitionistic behavior) on the internet and especially social media platforms. The relationship between self-disclosure on the internet and several measures of individual differences such as the Big Five, sensation seeking, depression, and social support is examined. We further examine the independence of online self-disclosure from offline self-disclosure. Correlations with objective measures of internet usage are also assessed.

Methods & Data: Three studies were conducted with heterogeneous samples of internet users recruited online and offline. Study 1 served to develop a reliable 15-item scale and an 8-item short version. This was followed by an extensive questionnaire validation study to investigate both discriminant and convergent validity (study 2) and a quasi-experimental study comprising extreme prototypes of socially exhibitionistic behavior (study 3).

Results: The findings strongly suggest that the new scale is an appropriate and reliable instrument for the measurement of socially exhibitionistic behavior in online environments. Moderate correlations with related constructs (e.g. extraversion, disinhibition, self-monitoring) were found while the independence of online self-disclosure from its offline variant was confirmed. Somewhat counter-intuitively, high self-disclosure on the internet did not correlate with depressive symptoms. Men scored higher than women on the newly developed scale.

Added Value: With the new scale, self-disclosure on the internet can be measured more reliably than with ad-hoc questionnaires. We provide first insights into the relationship of online self-disclosure and established measures of personality. We also make a number of suggestions for future avenues of research. For instance, we encourage further investigations concerning the causal direction of these relationships. The connection of self-disclosure with the hot topic of privacy on the internet also promises fruitful new opportunities for research. The newly developed scale of socially exhibitionistic behavior can contribute to this.

Hijacking the Hashtag: A Case Study of #BreakTheInternet on Twitter

Ognyan Seizov

University of Bremen, Germany

Relevance & Research Question: The "Discover" tab of the Twitter web and mobile application is an excellent way to gauge what topics are moving one's immediate and extended network at any given time. The most prominent way of identifying attachment to a certain topic remains the hashtag. However, as an annotation tool, the hashtag can (and is) misused for bandwagoning and displaying differently themed content in front of a sizeable audience which could not be reached otherwise. The present study asks: RQ1 - How often does hashtag hijacking occur? RQ2 - What alternative topics are displayed in "hash-jacked" tweets? RQ3 - How, if at all, do users react to "hash-jacking"?

Methods & Data: The study harvests all Top Tweets with the #BreakTheInternet hashtag at 10:30 (GMT+1) on November 14, 2014. The hashtag relates to the controversial photographs of Kim Kardashian for Paper Magazine. It then applies quantitative content analysis to the full sample, classifying tweets as on- or off-topic and assigning a sentiment value to them (positive, neutral, negative). The valence measure sheds light on the motivation of hash-jackers (i.e. mostly negative hashtags are less likely to be hijacked). The off-topic (i.e. hash-jacked) tweets are then analyzed qualitatively for verbal as well as visual rhetorical cues which reveal the poster's motivations for hijacking the hashtag.

Results: RQ1 - #BreakTheInternet was hijacked less than 10% in the Top Tweets sample. This can be attributed to the overall negativity (67%) of the associated posts. RQ2 - The most common hijacking scenario was a ploy to turn attention away from Kim Kardashian and towards the concurrent #CometLanding. A small sample of the hijackings were promotional posts for small local businesses trying to ride the popularity wave. RQ3 - Hijacking #BreakTheInternet did not initiate notable reactions or conversations.

Added Value: This mixed-method study delineates the hashtag-hijacking action in a high-profile Twitter event. It characterizes both the event's valence and the extent and nature of the hash-jacking action. It also sheds light on co-trending Twitter topics, as #BreakTheInternet and #CometLanding rivalled for supremacy on the microblog platform at the time.
Seizov-Hijacking the Hashtag-146.pptx

Social Map of Scientific Activities and Collaborations. A Network Study about Social Organizational Structures in Online and Offline Scientific Communities.

Cathleen M. Stuetzer1,2, Thomas Koehler1, Gerhard Thiem2

1TU Dresden, Germany; 2HS Mittweida, Germany

Relevance & Research Question:

The objective of this study is to analyze and visualize social behavior within scientific communities with the help of network analytics to detect social organizational structures in the online and offline context of scientists. The study focuses on answering following questions: (1) How do the social infrastructure of scientists look like? (2) What are the impact factors and gatekeepers’ strategies for evolving?

Methods & Data:

For exploration of social behavior within online and offline scientific communities the social network paradigm and key techniques as network analytics were used. Relational (quantitative) data about scientific behavior derived from activities of scientists in their scientific online and offline context. First, online data were extracted from the social media usage of scientists at an online research platform via tracking methods of integrated social media tools. Second, offline data were collected by listed project collaborations within a special research foundation between 2012 and 2013. The whole data set includes 119 scientists within 112 acquired projects within this research community.


The systematic analysis of structural data shows that during the project acquisition scientists keep in touch with each other to apply scientific projects and raise project funds together. The structural analysis demonstrates that social organizational infrastructures of scientists in both contexts based on the evolution of project elites in which scientists often co-occur and collaborate in different project teams. Approximately 80% of the scientists emerged within these project elites. About 10% of the scientists acquired isolated projects, operated independent from group processes, and acquired only a few projects over time. Scientists established in the project elite working in more than five projects. At the individual level the study shows that gatekeepers emerge online and offline. Thereby, central key actors differ less structurally more likely context-oriented at the individual level. They operates with different activity, intensity and diversity and emerge in the network. Furthermore, the study demonstrates evolution processes of social structures.

Added Value:

The results show that collaboration may be understood as strategy for success in the scientific business and evolution of elites and gatekeepers are features for functional scientific communities.

Stuetzer-Social Map of Scientific Activities and Collaborations A Network Study-208.pdf

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