2009-06-12

Esoteric Research Methods #7: Twitter searches

I've been using Twitter, a bit infrequently, for something like a month now, and I think I might be getting into it soon. The crowdsourcing has so far not been a great success, but there has been an unexpected side benefit, which I had no idea the platform could be used for: term searches. I realise the idea is old hat to most of you, but it certainly has helped me find new music, and not least gauge the attitudes of the general tweeting public on musical subjects. Coupled with a decent machine translation software and some of the results are interesting indeed...

I'm currently using twitter software tweetdeck, which can be set up to include panes of search results. For instance, one of my most active searches is the one for manele, which tends to produce something like 30-50 new tweets a day. Some of these are about some shit resort on Hawaii, but a great majority are actual Romanians who write their thoughts about the music I'm interested in. With the translation software included some of them are gold. This one I'm even considering including in my eventual Master's thesis, because it shows off attitudes I've also picked up through other research:
"Gypsies manele not play for them but for the Romans [read: Gypsies don't play manele for themselves but for Romanians]" Madalin Voicu
Madalin Voicu is a well-known Roma musician and politician, and his attitudes towards manele is precisely reflective of both the general disdain from the Roma towards the music, but may also be getting at an actual ethnological point. In any case, both the quote and that someone decided to tweet it is interesting - what's the tweeter trying to say?

Tweets can also help expose structural racism in Romania. Both from tweeters, and from stuff tweeters get upset about:
At Hosting-blog.ro not allowed to manele - http://bit.ly/JiF7P - any files or text. :)) Broken!
Here is a blog hosting service in Romania which, in its terms of use, specifically forbids manele lyrics over any other genre (!).

Of course, a more conventional research object would be finding new music, and here twitter searches oblige as well:



Decent stuff on the border of manele and hip-hop, though a bit commercial. I'm not gonna post the pirate links I keep getting as well, though.

I've got similar searches set up on a variety of musical subjects, occasionally scanning though them. Tallava basrely ever produces anything worthwhile, while kwaito is occasionally fascinating...

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