Social media as a research method

Tarrin Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Major developments in information technology in the digital society are eventually realised in the way in which research is conducted, particularly in the field of digital humanities (DH). Through a brief historical survey, this paper observes that the adoption of new technologies in DH occurs with some delay from the wide-scale adoption of the same technologies in other areas of society. This delay allows for a prediction about what technologies may be adopted in the near future in DH. In particular, the rise of social media in recent years provides a potential model for future DH research, particularly as it differs greatly from previous technologies in its capacity to engage end-users in digital methods. This paper argues that the techniques by which users interact with data in social media, particularly categorisation and semantic tagging, can be applied to a broad range of humanities research methodologies using similar interfaces to those of social media platforms. It then discusses some research tools developed by the author as a way of facilitating the interaction between researchers and primary sources using digital methods. Although much more limited than social media tools, it shows a way forward for implementing social media methods in the field of humanities research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Research and Practice
Volume2
Issue number1
Early online date25 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • digital humanities
  • social media
  • hashtag
  • medieval studies
  • digital society

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