The third event in the Digital Methods as Mainstream Methods seminar series will take place in Manchester on the 15th of March. Here are the details about the event. The seminar series has its own blog. I’m going to be presenting some material from my book. The title I’m using for the talk is ‘The politics of data circulation: before digital methods go mainstream’. I’m going to try to suggest that we need to get a greater understanding of data in order to allow digital methods to develop in an informed way. I’m going to use some materials from my book to discuss some of the material dimensions that lead to the particular forms that digital data take (and therefore shape what a social researcher might get from the data). I’ll have to work on the idea but I’m hoping to use the material from the book to think about the digital data/methods question. I’ve done this a little in the introduction and postscript of the book. I’m going to try to think about this a bit more systematically in the presentation.
The digital methods and digital sociology topics seem to be really snowballing now. The interest is growing, the number of publications is really expanding quite rapidly and I’ve seen a few new publishing and funding initiatives over recent weeks. It is starting to look like this conference will actually occur at a time when digital methods begin to move into the mainstream. My previous article on the use of digital data in social research is already starting to feel a bit dated as people experiment with software analytics and the like. Although the position I tried to adopt in that article is that we need to be reflective in digital methods, this includes understanding the data and also understanding the consequences of enacting the world through software analytics.