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Understanding the production and circulation of social media data: toward methodological principles and praxis

Understanding the production and circulation of social media data: toward methodological principles and praxis
Understanding the production and circulation of social media data: toward methodological principles and praxis
Social media data have provoked a mixed response from researchers. While there is great enthusiasm for this new source of social data – Twitter data in particular – concerns are also expressed about their biases and unknown provenance and, consequently, their credibility for social research. This article seeks a middle path, arguing that we must develop better understanding of the construction and circulation of social media data to evaluate their appropriate uses and the claims that might be made from them. Building on sociotechnical approaches, we propose a high-level abstraction of the ‘pipeline’ through which social media data are constructed and circulated. In turn, we explore how this shapes the populations and samples that are present in social media data and the methods that generate data about them. We conclude with some broad principles for supporting methodologically informed social media research in the future.
Halford, Susan
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Weal, Mark
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Tinati, Ramine
f74a0556-6a04-40c5-8bcf-6f5235dbf687
Pope, Catherine
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Carr, Leslie
0572b10e-039d-46c6-bf05-57cce71d3936
Halford, Susan
0d0fe4d6-3c4b-4887-84bb-738cf3249d46
Weal, Mark
e8fd30a6-c060-41c5-b388-ca52c81032a4
Tinati, Ramine
f74a0556-6a04-40c5-8bcf-6f5235dbf687
Pope, Catherine
21ae1290-0838-4245-adcf-6f901a0d4607
Carr, Leslie
0572b10e-039d-46c6-bf05-57cce71d3936

Halford, Susan, Weal, Mark, Tinati, Ramine, Pope, Catherine and Carr, Leslie (2017) Understanding the production and circulation of social media data: toward methodological principles and praxis. New Media and Society. (doi:10.1177/1461444817748953).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Social media data have provoked a mixed response from researchers. While there is great enthusiasm for this new source of social data – Twitter data in particular – concerns are also expressed about their biases and unknown provenance and, consequently, their credibility for social research. This article seeks a middle path, arguing that we must develop better understanding of the construction and circulation of social media data to evaluate their appropriate uses and the claims that might be made from them. Building on sociotechnical approaches, we propose a high-level abstraction of the ‘pipeline’ through which social media data are constructed and circulated. In turn, we explore how this shapes the populations and samples that are present in social media data and the methods that generate data about them. We conclude with some broad principles for supporting methodologically informed social media research in the future.

Text Halford et al Pipeline Final accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 27 November 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 December 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416024
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416024
PURE UUID: 5de924f8-084c-4b4d-9c61-50619e04c590
ORCID for Mark Weal: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6251-8786
ORCID for Catherine Pope: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8935-6702
ORCID for Leslie Carr: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2113-9680

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 04 May 2018 04:01

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