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Zeitschrift für Angewandte Linguistik

Managing Editor: Gerwinski, Jan / Heller, Vivien / Meer, Dorothee / Morek , Miriam / Reif, Monika

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.102

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Zuschauer-Engagement auf Twitter: Handlungskategorien der rezeptionsbegleitenden Kommunikation am Beispiel von #tatort

Jannis Androutsopoulos
  • Universität Hamburg, Institut für Germanistik & Institut für Medien und Kommunikation, Von-Melle-Park 6, D-20146 Hamburg
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/ Jessica Weidenhöffer
  • Universität Vechta, Institut für Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften, Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft, Driverstraße 22/26, D-49377 Vechta
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Published Online: 2015-04-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfal-2015-0002


This paper presents findings of a study on audience engagement on Twitter, based on tweets published during two shows of the popular German crime series, Tatort. Most existing research on the use of Twitter by broadcast audiences originates in communication studies and pays little attention to language use. In this paper we approach audience engagement on Twitter as recontextualization of practices of audience talk during television watching and discuss in detail similarities and differences between direct and mediated audience engagement. The data consists of all tweets with the hashtag #tatort that were published during the two shows, amounting to approx. 11,000 messages with 121,000 word-forms. The analysis draws on pragmatic, semantic and formal criteria to distinguish seven types of tweets depending on their orientation to the on-going show. These are tweets that (a) frame the reception experience; (b) offer local (i.e. limited to a particular scene) and (c) global (i.e. referring to a larger chunk of the narrative) commentary; (d) anticipate the development of the narrative; (e) compare aspects of the show to the viewer’s own life-world; (f) ask questions; and (g) engage in parasocial interaction with actors or producers. Each category is discussed and exemplified in terms of typical variants and linguistic means. We also examine how these categories map on to all tweets that refer to a short scene from one show. In conclusion, this paper contributes to Twitter research by proposing a language-focused approach to Twitter-based audience engagement and by categorizing typical communicative activities carried out on Twitter during television watching.

Keywords: Twitter; Tatort; audience engagement; recontextualization; language practices; intermediality; German

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Published Online: 2015-04-02

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Angewandte Linguistik, Volume 62, Issue 1, Pages 23–59, ISSN (Online) 2190-0191, ISSN (Print) 1433-9889, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfal-2015-0002.

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