Category Archives: social media

The New Science of Culturomics

By Yunkyu Sohn

Using a corpus of digitalized texts of The Google Books Project (i.e. the offline version of Google Trends), Michel et al. (2011) propose a new approach for quantitative investigation of culture. Their method may have broad impacts on various disciplines such as “lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology.”

Truthy tweets (in real time)

by Robert Bond

Some researchers at the University of Indiana have created a website that lets users track politics-related tweets in real time. The site includes trends over time, network visualizations, among other things. This is a great example of the kinds of things one could do research on using the (freely available) data from Twitter’s API. While I don’t have the programming skills to do anything useful with the API, I can get some data out of the API using the R package for Twitter.

Gladwell on social media

by Robert Bond

Malcolm Gladwell has a new piece in The New Yorker on social media and activism. I have linked to it here.

In the article Gladwell makes a lot of assertions about how people use social media and what it is/isn’t useful for doing. Most of these assertions are not based on research; rather, they seem to be based on what he assumes about how Facebook and Twitter are used. This is a great article to get some hypotheses about how people actually use these types of media!

Government and Social Media Wiki

by Lindsay Nielson

Here’s a heads up about a new database, just in time for the campaign season to kick into full swing: the Government and Social Media Wiki. It tracks which government officials and offices use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. The database includes members of the House and Senate, some congressional committees, federal agencies, governors, and even some candidates for House and Senate. So if your research requires you to keep tabs on Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck on Foursquare or stay up to date with Senator John Thune’s MySpace page, here’s an easy way to do it.