Codes Colliding in Connective Cultures

The Emergence of the Norwegian Police Emergency Control Room Twitter

  • Guro Flinterud Norwegian Police University College
Keywords: code, connective culture, police, Twitter, material-discursive


Over the last decade, Twitter has become one of the main communication channels for the Norwegian Police Service about ongoing events. Every police district has an official Twitter account staffed from their emergency control rooms. This utilization of a commercial web-based platform with a broad reach within the population has changed the presence of the police in the public in significant yet subtle ways, as a phenomenon where programmatic code, semiotic codes, and formal and implicit codes of conduct meet.

This article provides a re-conceptualization of code as a hybrid analytical concept within a material-discursive framework. It explores how the materiality of technologies—the codes that materialize social media platforms—are integral in shaping our discursive landscapes. In what ways can the concept of codes elucidate the entanglements that create cultural phenomena in connective cultures? The empirical ground for this exploration is based on a combination of computational and qualitative close reading of tweets made by the Norwegian police from September 2011 to August 2021, and analysis of media texts and governmental documents.