THE Sydney Morning Herald website is the most linked to Australian news and opinion site on Twitter, according to the Australian twitter news index.
The index is determined by tracking all tweets which contain URL links to Australian news sites and is measured by the Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology.
It captured 3.9 million tweets for the period from June 18 to December 30 – an average of 140,000 tweets per week.
Smh.com.au received 19 percent of tweets, followed by abc.net.au (18 percent).
The SMH website was pushed into the top position partially by its strong weekend performance, driven by content produced for the paper’s weekend edition, according to study author Dr Axel Bruns.
Third place was shared between theage.com.au and news.com.au, with a 10 percent stake each.
The top four sites combined received nearly 60 percent of all Australian news links being shared on Twitter, which demonstrates the considerable concentration of the Australian news industry, according to Dr Bruns.
Other newspaper websites to receive indexes included theaustralian.com.au (seven percent), heraldsun.com.au (six percent), dailytelegraph.com.au (five percent), brisbanetimes.com.au (three percent), couriermail.com.au (three percent), afr.com (two percent) and canberratimes.com.au, perthnow.com.au, adelaidenow.com.au, watoday.com.au and themercury.com.au all with one percent.
“We might expect News Limited’s national broadsheet The Australian to figure strongly here as well, but remember that its site has implemented a partial paywall system which is likely to impact on Twitter users’ ability to read and share articles in The Australian,” Dr Bruns said.
Spikes occurred during the following events:
· Julian Assange’s move to the Ecuadorian embassy in London;
· Independent MP Tony Windsor’s attack on Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott;
· ABC journalist Leigh Sales’ 7.30 interview with Mr Abbott;
· Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech;
· Four One Direction fans burning their concert tickets.
Drops in linking to news sites on Twitter occurred between August 27 and October 7, which coincided with school holidays in several states. There was also a drop in the last week of December which was particularly pronounced for the Australian Financial Review.
The patterns reflect the existing knowledge about the demographics of the Australian Twittersphere, Dr Bruns said.
“The strong performance of Fairfax’s two metropolitan broadsheets, and of Australia’s leading public service media organisation, suggests that Twitter user demographics remain skewed to the traditional audiences for relatively quality, broadsheet news, rather than for tabloid content as provided, for example, by News Ltd’s papers Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph.”
The index also tracks the sharing of opinion articles from newspaper and independent websites.
Of the 580,000 tweets, 23 percent linked to smh.com.au/opinion. Second place was shared by theconversation.edu.au and theage.com.au/opinion with a 14 percent stake each.
Other newspaper websites to receive an index were blogs.news.com.au (seven percent), theaustralian.com/opinion (four percent), thepunch.com.au and brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion with three percent each, nationaltimes.com.au and canberratimes.com.au/opinion (two percent each) and dailytelegraph.com.au/opinion, heraldsun.com.au/opinion, couriermail.com.au/opinion and watoday.com.au/opinion – all with one percent each.
Dr Bruns also noted last week’s announcement of an Australian edition of The Guardian will bring an interesting shift in the Twittersphere in 2013.