Introduction : the importance of method in the study of the ‘Political Internet’

Sudulich, L, Wall, M, Gibson, R, Cantijoch, M and Ward, SJ 2014, 'Introduction : the importance of method in the study of the ‘Political Internet’' , in: Analyzing social media data and web networks , Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 1-21.

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Abstract

In this introduction, we outline our understanding of the ‘political Internet’ and present the methodologically focused approach that we take to the topic in this volume. We then discuss the growing social and political relevance of the Internet and examine the characteristics of the contemporary ‘Web 2.0’ Internet, before outlining the general methodological challenges and opportunities that it presents for researchers. We argue that three key characteristics of online political information in the Web 2.0 era shape and constrain any study of the political Internet. These characteristics are (1) extremely large volume, (2) heterogeneity and (3) plasticity. We contend that this combination creates what we term a ‘dynamic data deluge’ for social scientists, which makes distinguishing and recording meaningful information generated by the political Internet a methodologically challenging endeavour. We then discuss how the chapters collected here attempt to make sense of the dynamic data deluge that the political Internet presents. In the course of doing so, we build a picture of what distinguishes social media from earlier types of digital communication and discuss how social media content can be assimilated and processed by social science. We touch on epistemological concerns arising from this discussion before outlining the structure of the book and providing details of the individual contributions.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
ISBN: 9781349446803
Related URLs:
Depositing User: A Johnson
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 14:23
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 14:23
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/42218

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