Social Media-Innovation: The Case of Indigenous Tweets
Twitter presents new opportunities for individual communication. Consequently, it may be a relevant arena in which to address the social need of minority language maintenance. The Indigenous Tweets website presents a directory of minority language users on Twitter (www.indigenoustweets.com). It aims to create new opportunities to use these languages, thus to address a social need through media innovation. In this article, I draw on a theoretical framework from Media Innovation- and Social Innovation Studies, to delineate the concept of Social Media-Innovation. I propose three distinguishing attributes. Firstly, users of these innovations must consider them relevant to address identified social needs. Secondly, the communication capabilities they present must support addressing these needs. Thirdly, they should facilitate mediated interaction that enhances society’s capacity to act. Having delineated the concept I explore how its attributes are manifest in practice with reference to the case of Indigenous Tweets. I find that the relevance of Indigenous Tweets is negotiated with regard to culturally specific needs in different social contexts. The development and use of its communication capabilities are supported by incremental experimentation and learning. Furthermore, while it facilitates mediated interactions that are designed to enhance society’s capacity to act, these occur in a hybrid media context and are influenced by the range of agents involved. This article makes two important contributions to the field of Media Innovations Studies. It delineates the concept of Social Media-Innovation according to three central attributes. It also analyses how these are manifest in practice with reference to the case of Indigenous Tweets.
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