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Hidden Data of Social Media Research


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Poster presented at International Conference on Infrastructures and Cooperation in E-Science and E-Humanities. Leipzig, June 2014

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Hidden Data of Social Media Research

  1. 1. The Hidden Data of Social Media Research: Exploring Practices and Problems of Working with Social Media Data Katrin Weller & Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Contact:, Work in progress • Investigation of social media researchers’ data management methods, practices and problems • Exploratory design: qualitative semi-structured interviews with social media researchers • Theory building occurs in pa- rallel to the experiences in the ‘field’ • Coding and analysis are still ongoing – preliminary results for selected topics are available Current status Future work • 20 interviews so far • Interviewees … • … mainly from social science/ communication studies • … from Europe (8), US (7), Australia (5) • … PhD students to full professors • …withexperiencesinresearch based on data gathered from several platforms: Twitter (13), Facebook (5), blogs (10), Foursquare, Tumblr, 4chan, reddit and more • Next interviews planned • Multiple disciplines • Detailed coding of interviews • Next topics to be analyzed: data collection and processing as well as epistemology. “…it is hard to have standards nowadays because the field develops so fast.” “Oh my gosh, we have this amazing data!” “I always feel it must be great to be a hacker!” “But you can’t make your data available for others to look at, which means both your study can’t really be replicated and it can’t be tested for review.” “I would like more tools for collecting data. From services that aren‘t Twitter.” “It seems very hard, or nearly impossible, to do this kind of stuff in the future as a single or individual researcher.” “My questions are limited to what I can do. “ “I will not quote tweets” “I love thinking about ethics” Kinder-Kurlanda, K., & Weller, K. (2014). “I always feel it must be great to be a hacker!” The role of interdisciplinary work in social media research. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM Web Science Conference 2014, Bloomington, IN, USA 2014. Weller, K., & Kinder-Kurlanda, K. (2014). “I love thinking about ethics!” Perspectives on ethics in social media research. To appear in Proceedings of Internet Research 15: Boundaries and Intersections, Bangkok, Thailand 2014. More information: