Kairos 19.3


I have labeled Integrating those tweets that "integrate the language or actions of the Springsteen fan discourse community." Cheryl Harris (1998) has suggested that "becoming a 'fan' is immersion in a special lexicon" (p. 8) that is unique to a particular fan community. Harris's description is quite similar to how David Bartholomae (1986) has described the practices of first-year writing students adopting perceived discourses that the students believe are accepted within various academic communities. These practices include "commonplaces, set phrases, rituals, gestures, habits of mind" and other approaches to composing texts (Bartholomae, 1986, p. 11). Integrating practices emerge in the tweets, for example, when fans remediate the cries of "Bruce" adding as many Us as possible:

Example Corpus Tweet

Bruce Springsteen tonight at the Izod Center...... bruuuuuuucccceee!

Example Corpus Tweet

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuce (@ IZOD Center for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band w/ 78 others) http://t.co/hjgf0AXv

Example Corpus Tweet

View from our seats at Springsteen. #Bruuuuuuce http://t.co/RUp46lev.

Daniel Cavicchi (1998) would describe these tweets as reflecting "roles [where] people [at concerts] behave in ways . . . which would be inappropriate in the context of everyday life" (p. 89). (Personally, I think we need more people howling, "Bruuuuuuuuce!" as they walk down the street.)

black and white photo of the full stage, Izod Center, April 2, 2012

What are you doing?

Prior to the 2002–2003 The Rising tour, fans who had General Admission standing-only tickets would queue days ahead, checking in at various times of the day to ensure that they were present and in line. Fans ran the lines and ensured everything went without issue. The order a fan arrived at the concert was the order that fan entered the stadium or arena. The lower the number in the order the closer you were to center stage. This is the current system for concerts outside the United States. During The Rising tour, however, a lottery system run by fans was introduced to afford more fans the opportunity to be up front (Indigoblur, personal communication, October 21, 2013).

The tweets also contain concert-specific activities, which include actions and language that are understood within the community. The latter tweets about the pit lottery system reflect a practice that is unique to Springsteen concerts in the United States. In this system, fans with General Admission tickets queue to get one of a limited number of wristbands (at the Izod show, for example, 1,020). A member of the promotion crew picks a number between 1 and, here, 1,020. The number picked is the new number 1. So, at the Izod show, 215 was picked, which made 214 the 1,020th person to enter the Izod Center.

Fans tweeting their pit experiences were aware that others in the Springsteen fan community would understand the tweets without further explanation because the practice is a significant ritual at a Springsteen concert. These tweets suggest an awareness of the community's composing practices and their potential audience's discourse knowledge.

Example Corpus Tweet

Waiting to see if 700 is the lucky number at the @springsteen show!

Example Corpus Tweet

Though I must say, I've never been to a show before where there were rules to get into the pit. #Springsteen

Coding a Tweet

Example Corpus Tweet

GA lottery number at Bruce is 215.....I have 240 #holyshitmoment #Springsteen

  • Open Coding

    The first stage in a grounded theory analysis is open coding. During open coding, researchers create an extensive list of characteristics about each unit of analysis. For my study, each tweet was a unit of analysis. The goal of open coding is for researchers to get to know the data more fully.

    During open coding for the above tweet, the following open codes were applied:

    a tweet that contains a hashtag

    a tweet that contains a #springsteen hashtag

    a tweet posted before the concert or containing pre-concert activity

  • Axial Coding

    After Open Coding, I decided to focus on tweets posted before, during, and after the April 4, 2012 concert at the Izod Center. Because this tweet was posted before the concert, it was included in the study.

    The next stage is Axial Coding. During Axial Coding, a researcher is looking to better understand phenomena within the unit of analysis. When completing this stage, I asked myself, "What is this tweet doing?" I asked this question because the answer is active, often in the form of a gerund, which Kathy Charmaz (2006) recommended using when axially coding data. More than one code can be applied to each tweet, so I applied a primary code and one or more secondary codes where appropriate.

    Primary code: Narrating: A tweet describing or depicting one's own events at a concert.

    Secondary codes: Affiliating; integrating; intertextual

  • Why Integrating as Secondary Code?

    None of the tweets in the corpus were assigned Integrating as a primary code. Fans did not set out to compose a tweet that integrated "the language or actions of the Springsteen fan discourse community." Rather, the practice of integrating Springsteen fan discourse came across as a natural component of a tweet that had a more primary objective, such as narrating or reporting or historicizing.

    In the above tweet, the author's goal is to narrate their pit queue and number experience. The discourse of the pit becomes an integral but secondary part of that narrative.