Easy data, hard data : the politics and pragmatics of Twitter research after the computational turn

Burgess, Jean & Bruns, Axel (2015) Easy data, hard data : the politics and pragmatics of Twitter research after the computational turn. In Langlois, Ganaele, Redden, Joanna, & Elmer, Greg (Eds.) Compromised Data : From Social Media to Big Data. Bloomsbury Publishing, London, pp. 93-111.

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In this chapter, we draw out the relevant themes from a range of critical scholarship from the small body of digital media and software studies work that has focused on the politics of Twitter data and the sociotechnical means by which access is regulated. We highlight in particular the contested relationships between social media research (in both academic and non-academic contexts) and the data wholesale, retail, and analytics industries that feed on them. In the second major section of the chapter we discuss in detail the pragmatic edge of these politics in terms of what kinds of scientific research is and is not possible in the current political economy of Twitter data access. Finally, at the end of the chapter we return to the much broader implications of these issues for the politics of knowledge, demonstrating how the apparently microscopic level of how the Twitter API mediates access to Twitter data actually inscribes and influences the macro level of the global political economy of science itself, through re-inscribing institutional and traditional disciplinary privilege We conclude with some speculations about future developments in data rights and data philanthropy that may at least mitigate some of these negative impacts.

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ID Code: 79308
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: software studies, digital humanities, platform politics, social media data, big data
ISBN: 9781501306525
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Bloomsbury Publishing
Deposited On: 08 Dec 2014 23:45
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2016 02:12

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