My article ‘Using Social Media Data Aggregators to do Social Research’ has been published in Sociological Research Online. This piece looks at how commercial forms of software can be used extract and analyse data from social media. I’ve tried to frame it through some debates about the future of critical social research. Effectively this is a piece about the way we might use the by-products of popular culture. It is also suggestive of how data about us is being analysed and used by the commercial sector. Here is the abstract:
This article asks if it is possible to use commercial data analysis software and digital by-product data to do critical social science. In response this article introduces social media data aggregator software to a social science audience. The article explores how this particular software can be used to do social research. It uses some specific examples in order to elaborate upon the potential of the software and the type of insights it can be used to generate. The aim of the article is to show how digital by-product data can be used to see the social in alternative ways, it explores how this commercial software might enable us to find patterns amongst ‘monumentally detailed data’. As such is responds to Andrew Abbott’s as yet unresolved eleven year old reflections on the crucial challenges that face the social sciences in a data rich era.
Click here to have a look at the full article.