Methodological innovation in precarious spaces: The case of Twitter
Bruns, Axel & Burgess, Jean (2015) Methodological innovation in precarious spaces: The case of Twitter. In Snee, Helene, Hine, Christine, Morey, Yvette, Roberts, Steven, & Watson, Hayley (Eds.) Digital Methods for Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Research Innovation. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, pp. 17-33.
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Social media analytics is a rapidly developing field of research at present: new, powerful ‘big data’ research methods draw on the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of social media platforms. Twitter has proven to be a particularly productive space for such methods development, initially due to the explicit support and encouragement of Twitter, Inc. However, because of the growing commercialisation of Twitter data, and the increasing API restrictions imposed by Twitter, Inc., researchers are now facing a considerably less welcoming environment, and are forced to find additional funding for paid data access, or to bend or break the rules of the Twitter API. This article considers the increasingly precarious nature of ‘big data’ Twitter research, and flags the potential consequences of this shift for academic scholarship.
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