For those studying social media and collecting data from social media, the Digital Methods Summer School 2013 “On the challenges of studying social media data” will be held at the University of Amsterdam from June 24th to July 5th, 2013.
A set of #hashtagged tweets and @follow networks visualised to study crisis response to a natural disaster. Facebook likes, shares, comments, and liked comments tabulated over time for an activist page to study relationships between content formats and engagement. LinkedIn profile completeness percentages measured for a group of civil servants to study online grooming. Social media data are employed increasingly for work in the arts and social sciences, and are even becoming an expected research strategy alongside the fieldwork, surveys and interviews when studying contemporary states of affairs.
The 2013 Digital Methods Summer School would like to examine critically the status of the findings, while at the same time reviewing and actively employing the techniques. Is there increasingly a unified approach to the study of social media data? Are there recipes and preferred tools (or utensils)? Are we still allowed to hack the graph? The question of how to study online data is increasingly a piece with how big data companies provide them. More specifically, has polling APIs supplanted scraping as the appropriate means of data collection? What are the effects of the research ethics debate on social media research practice? There are also the information graphics and data visualisations to consider. The preferred outputs mark the return of the graph visualisation, if it ever went away. What does the graph visualisation mean for the interpretation and presentation of research findings? There is also the question of what is actually being measured, apart from activity in social media. How to ground the findings? In even more online data?
More details can be found on the Digital Methods Summer School site. Applications—a one-page letter and your CV—are due April 25th, and the school costs €295 if you are accepted. Good luck to those that apply!