Title: The Ephemerality of Social Media: How Social Media Changes Over Time and Its Impact on Our Research
Speaker: Dr. Shawn Walker
Data/Time/Location: Tuesday 3/6, 1:15-2:30pm, UTA 5.522
Abstract: Despite widespread use, relatively little is known about how social media datasets change when observed at different points over time or how collection methods may impact the data at the core of our research projects. What happens to the metadata, links to web pages, photos, and videos embedded in social media content over time? If data collection methods do not preserve and archive essential elements of a social media posts, their metadata, and linked content; are researchers venturing into a new dataset each time they engage with it? In this presentation, I will quantify and discuss how social media datasets change over time and how change impacts the reliability and authenticity of this data. Three Twitter-based case studies, each exhibiting prototypical elements social scientists encounter in their research are used to demonstrate the impact of research design and data collection choices.
Speaker Bio: Shawn Walker is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the New College at Arizona State University. His research focuses on two complementary areas: 1) new forms of political participation emerging on social media platforms and 2) the related challenges of collecting, analyzing, and working with data from these platforms. This work examines how new forms of political participation emerge on social media platforms through the analysis of social media posts surrounding social movements, protests, and elections. His work on social media methods addresses gaps in our understanding about social media data, collection methods, and the implications (ethics, representation, etc.) of using those methods.
1:15pm to 2:30pm