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Postdoc Position Available: Public Sphere Theory and Social Media Analytics

Posted In News, Projects - By On Monday, April 13th, 2015 With 0 Comments

In addition to the PhD position I advertised last week, I am now also offering a two-year, full-time postdoc position on the same project at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia (international applicants are very welcome). If you’re interested and qualified for the position, please submit a detailed application , responding to the selection criteria. , and below I’m including the key details from the job description:

Position Purpose

This appointment supports an ARC Future Fellowship research project investigating intermedia information flows in the Australian online public sphere. The emergence of new media forms has led to a profound transformation of the Australian media environment: mainstream, niche, and social media intersect in many ways, online and offline. Increased access to large-scale data on public communication online enables an observation of how the nation responds to the news of the day, how themes and topics unfold, and how interest publics develop and decline over time. This project uses such observations to trace how information flows across media spaces, and to develop a new model of the online public sphere. It makes significant contributions to innovation in research methods in the digital humanities, and provides an important basis for policies aimed at closing digital and social divides. Research on the project commenced in April 2014.

The Postdoctoral Research Fellow will contribute to project management and undertake specific research tasks and will also be involved in the supervision of one of the PhD students associated with the project. The position will be based at QUT in Brisbane, and will support the timely analysis of public communication activities which relate to current debates. The presence of this full-time staff member will ensure the project’s agility in responding to unfolding events, and substantially enhance its ability to engage in and impact on public debate over the lifetime of the Future Fellowship.

Selection Criteria


  1. Completion or partial completion of a postgraduate degree in Media and Communication or a closely related area, and relevant work experience as a researcher;
  2. Demonstrated expertise in research on the contemporary public sphere and on information flows in online and social media, with substantial research outputs in quality conferences, journals, and edited books;
  3. Demonstrated expert knowledge of, and experience with, qualitative and quantitative research which utilises innovative methods drawing on ‘big social data’ from social media and other relevant online sources;
  4. Demonstrated advanced expertise in the use of network mapping and analytics techniques for the study of user interaction and information dissemination across social media and related networks;
  5. Effective written, interpersonal and computer-mediated communication skills and experience in using project management tools;
  6. Demonstrated relevant project coordination experience, and ability to work in a team and autonomously;
  7. Demonstrated computing skills, including familiarity with digital research management and social media research tools.


  1. Have prior university-based work experience;
  2. Have an understanding of the strategic research agenda of the QUT Social Media Research Group and other relevant QUT research initiatives.

Specific Duties

The appointee will carry out a range of tasks associated with project activities, including:

  • Use data collection and analysis methods and instruments developed for the project for a variety of purposes, including:
    • Post hoc research into user activity patterns and information flows in the Australian online public sphere across a wide range of cases;
    • Speedy and agile analysis of online activities in issue publics related to current events, and publication of initial analysis in relevant online fora;
    • Input into further development of online media tracking and analysis methods and instruments developed by the project.
  • Contribute to the development of new models of communication processes in the Australian online public sphere, by:
    • Tracing the trajectories of intermedia information flows across the diverse datasets available to the project;
    • Developing and testing a range of preliminary models for the conceptualisation of issue publics and other formations of public discourse in online environments;
    • Contributing to the integration of these models into a more comprehensive framework for understanding processes of communication across the contemporary media ecology.
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research findings from the project by:
    • Publishing preliminary analyses and findings in relevant outlets (The Conversation, project Website and other publications, etc.);
    • Presenting project findings at relevant national and international conferences in media and communication and related fields;
    • Publishing research outcomes from the project in sole- and collaboratively authored articles and chapters in high-profile journals and books.
  • Participate in project management by:
    • Communicating with the research team, partner organisations and networks, and the wider public, in meetings, online, at events and in publications;
    • Maintaining and using communication and collaborative research tools for project management and coordination purposes;
    • contributing to the supervision of one of the PhD researchers associated with the project.


This project is an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship project which draws on several ‘big data’ sources on Australian public communication. This appointment provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the flow of information across the Australian online public sphere at large scale and in close to real time, within a world-class research environment. With an ERA ranking of 5 (“well above world standing”), Creative Industries at QUT is the lead site for Media and Communication research in Australia, and ARC Future Fellow Professor Axel Bruns is an international research leader in the area of Internet studies.

About the Author

- Axel Bruns is a Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, where he leads the Digital Publics programme.

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