Category: social media data

More room for greater depth and detail: implications for academic research of Twitter’s expanded character limit

Twitter makes its data available in real-time and at no cost, making it a popular data source for many academic researchers. Wasim Ahmed discusses some of the implications of the decision to expand the character limit from 140 to 280. Greater space makes for greater depth and detail, addressing the difficulties of interpretation that 140-character tweets would sometimes present. However, […]

Using Twitter as a data source: an overview of social media research tools (updated for 2017)

Following his initial post on this topic in 2015, Wasim Ahmed has updated and expanded his rundown of the tools available to social scientists looking to analyse social media data. A number of new applications have been released in the intervening period, with the increasing complexity of certain research questions also having prompted some tools to increase their data retrieval […]

Measuring and engineering influence on social media: what does this mean for political power?

In 2016, the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump resolutely demonstrated the political power of social media. David Beer asks how we might better understand ‘influence’ in the machinations of social media, and how this influence might be harnessed by those in, or seeking, office. One of the most interesting features of the new types of social media analytics […]

What does Big Data mean to public affairs research? Understanding the methodological and analytical challenges

The term ‘Big Data’ is often misunderstood or poorly defined, especially in the public sector. Ines Mergel, R. Karl Rethemeyer, and Kimberley R. Isett provide a definition that adequately encompasses the scale, collection processes, and sources of Big Data. However, while recognising its immense potential it is also important to consider the limitations when using Big Data as a policymaking […]