I recently returned from #SMS2016, held for the first time outside Canada, at Goldsmiths University, London UK, a conference I have regularly attended since its earliest days as a symposium, then a full conference at Dalhousie and Ryerson universities. In a now familiar (read practiced 😉 arc I was again surprised, then spectacularly over-stimulated by the breadth of theoretical and methodological perspectives the program committee, through the assembled 250+ researchers and students constructed together, via presentations, posters, workshops, and of course, over several evenings of chat and beers at the neighbourhood pub.
You simply cannot spend several intense days with SM researchers who are simultaneously talking, listening, reflecting, and further inquiring both from the front-of-the room podiums and technologies AND from the keyboards of each multiple-device-enabled-audience-listener — snapping photos and tapping out reactions — without learning more about yourself, your scholarship, and the socio-technological mingling of these relations. I also attribute much of the steady chatter to the fact that this conference always brings together a new and mysteriously-spiced collection of academics and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines.
Under the heading: Not rocket science
(I note it is rarely rocket science that I need, to do better work)
For my own benefit and as a professional ‘sharer’ here are my (read eclectic) images, bullet points and hyper-links in no particular order, that I will be following up in my work:
- Thinking and writing more thoughtfully about data mining methods and epistemologies, particularly their unintended consequences, embedded ideologies and assumptions.
- What do we intend as researchers and how do we and our readers make meaning from big data representations of ‘results’ and ‘facts’?
- Talk about widely, and raise my own bar again, on ethical SM research practises online.
- Research design is everything. Access to data and access to quantities of data are not design choices and should be considered only AFTER articulation of RQs with frameworks that implicate choices of methodology.
- Know and articulate regularly my own ‘theoretical commitments’ (Halford & Carr) – useful both within and across disciplines.
- Think about better describing, analyzing and making meaning from the multiple data sources often at play in SM-oriented studies (reminder: the layered onion 😉
- Use of images in SM practices – powerful, needs more study, different types of studies.
- Doing interdisciplinary research just takes more time, and is also a commitment to learning new ways of thinking.
- Go to marketing/consumer research literature more often.
- Many other bits I won’t remember until a trigger arrives!
Plenary speakers Zizi Papacharissi, Evelyn Ruppert, Helen Kennedy, Susan Halford and Les Carr all left their respective traces with/on me. From my own Canadian backyard, but new to me is the work and current research project of Martin Hand. I am looking forward to teaching with the forthcoming Sage Handbook of Social Media Research edited by Luke Sloan and Anabel Quan-Haase. References below.
Kennedy, Helen (2016) Post, Mine, Repeat: Social Media Data Mining Becomes Ordinary
Papacharissi, Zizi (2014) Affective Publics, Sentiment and Technology
Sloan, Luke & Anabel Quan-Haase The Sage Handbook of Social Media Research
Social Media and Society (2016) Conference Proceedings