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Accepted Paper:

Social media platforms as virtual research environments? On the transformation of data practices within the research of online communities  
Carmen Reidelbach (CRC 1567 Virtual Lifeworlds at Ruhr-University Bochum)

Short abstract:

Considering the various opportunities and challenges of social media research, the reflection on social media platforms as virtual research environments highlights the demand for modes of research that correspond to these platforms as virtual spaces.

Long abstract:

The interest in researching communities on social media platforms has grown significantly in recent years as they generate specific knowledge about practices within niche groups. Social media platforms create, on the surface, accessible virtual spaces through user interactions and practices of communication that take place both online and offline at the same time.

However, this accessibility poses as many opportunities as it does challenges. When collecting meta-data from platforms, researchers often have to circumvent and work with black boxed algorithms, restricted access to APIs and fast-paced, nontransparent update schedules that transform users’ practices.

This contribution seeks to reflect on methods of social media research and how platforms challenge and transform data practices through the lense of virtual research environments. As has been shown in recent developments of social media research, platforms become both the objects and tools of analysis at the same time and allow, but also demand more flexible and ubiquitous modes of research. The contribution focuses on discussing existing methods and approaches that highlight the connection of sociotechnical structures of online communities and the praxeological knowledge generated from within.

Traditional Open Panel P261
Transforming data practices in the humanities: virtual research environments revisited
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -