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Great to see you blogging on this topic, Greg.

I'm curious about how you deal with the ethical issues around using data from Twitter. Do you feel it's not an issue as these are public feeds (and clearly intended for a wide audience rather than friends)? I'm always concerned about what happens when someone deletes a tweet from Twitter, but it survives in a corpus/published paper.

Richard Gresswell

Hi Greg

Thanks you for this blog and your book 'Discourse of Blogs and Wikis'.

To your knowledge has anyone ever compiled a corpus on the 'hypertext of blogs'? I'm a PhD student and I'm looking at 'teacher blogging and identity'. I'm starting to ask some questions around the affordances of hypertext in relation to online identity construction. I'm thinking about taking a Hallidayan approach and compiling a corpus of blog hypertext and coding it according to a functional grammar. In this way I hope to find out how the bloggers are using hypertext as a textual device in their online identity construction. Any pointers on this would be much appreciated.


Johnny - I see your point, but I have assumed that when a Twitter feed has 1000 to 5000 followers, and when anyone can sign up for them, the tweets are intended for a public audience. There are exceptions - arrangements for a meeting, for instance. A few people mark their tweets in these situations as private to the recipient. That suggests to me that the others are not. Most of these tweets are very much in a sort of public science realm.

On deleted tweets, I would make a distinction between the corpus and any quotations in publications. I don't see a problem with keeping your tweet after you deleted it and using it for statistics on the use of modals. There could be an argument that your deletion means I shouldn't quote it. But once one hits 'tweet', doesn't that mean it is out there, and you can't really take it back just by deleting it from your feed? The problem is not so much the corpus builders, but anyone retweeting it.

When one participates in a study, one has the right to withdraw participation. So if I interview someone, and they decide later that they don't want me to use it, I don't use it. But as far as I can see, public speech does not come with the right to withdraw one's speech.


Richard - By hypertext, do you mean the links? They are indeed crucial to what a blog does (even more to Twitter). I just scratched the surface in talking in the book about how they are used rhetorically. I don't know of anyone who has analysed the linking text in SFL terms, but it would be interesting. I'll post if I find anything on this.

Richard Gresswell

Thanks Greg

Yes I do mean links - and I think an sfl approach might be useful when we start to think of links as an affordance in relation to genre (rather than as an electronic organisation tool e.g. as a tag). I'm looking at in-post links only because I want to look at longitudinal changes in their use. Please do let me know if you come across any similar work.

Best wishes

French translator

If somebody decides to publish thought on Twitter why should we worry about using that data?
It is published for anybody to read and share or?

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