Back and foward: new approaches of old methods to study social media

Cordeiro, P. (2011). Back and foward: new approaches of old methods to study social media. Zagreb conference: "New challenges and methodological innovations in European media audience research". 7-9 April 2011.

Abstract: The study of social media is an emergent field within the social sciences, displaying different approaches evolving computer-mediated communication and the relations between technology, society and culture. Our approach is defined by this relation, considering the social shaping of technology in an interrelation of influence. Today, a worldwide audience as access to a greater variety of cultural products and media contents, relating on-line and off-line structures of our lives. Life is made available online, as the Internet is the key technology, a multimodal means of communication: people socialize online and use the Internet as a source of information, a helpful tool to work and communicate. Bearing this in mind, our concern is about the study of this new context, evaluating the implications of applying traditional methods to study social media and social networking. We’ll be using a sample of exploratory studies, using different tools and approaching different methodologies to study this context: questionnaire, through online application using Facebook, e-mail lists, Fóruns and Blogs; Content Analysis on Facebook and Blogs and computer mediated analysis applied to site content. These approaches aimed to analyse social networking users behaviours, attitudes and identity as for the use and the relevance that social networking portray in their lives for mingling and working, their personal exposure and content sharing; also bloggers content production, behaviours and attitudes pertaining “old” and new media; finally, traditional media websites content and adequacy to web 2.0 features. Using these approaches, we develop a reflexion on the need of finding empirical methods for social media study.