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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Professor Claire Warwick

Ross, C., Terras, M., Warwick, C. & Welsh, A. (2010), Pointless Babble or Enabled Backchannel: Conference Use of Twitter by Digital Humanists, Digital Humanities 2010. London, Office for Humanities Communication and Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, London, 214-217.

Author(s) from Durham


Microblogging, a variant of a blogging which allows
users to quickly post short updates to websites such
as, has recently emerged as a dominant
form of information interchange and interaction
for academic communities. To date, few studies
have been undertaken to make explicit how such
technologies are used by and can benefit scholars.
This paper considers the use of Twitter as a digital
backchannel by the Digital Humanities community,
taking as its focus postings to Twitter during three
different international 2009 conferences. This paper
poses the following question: does the use of a
Twitter enabled backchannel enhance the conference
experience, collaboration and the co-construction of
knowledge, or is it a disruptive, disparaging and a
inconsequential tool full of ‘pointless babble’?

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