While we cover lots of social media research and studies, there’s never a time to cover all social media research and studies. Thankfully, Nieman Lab and Journalist’s Resource have collaborated on a best social media papers of 2014 collection, for you end of year reading pleasure. The best papers of this year cover data journalism, mapping, and watching how online movements and communities interact on the web.
Here are some of their picks:
1) “The battle for ‘Trayvon Martin’: Mapping a media controversy online and off-line”: From the MIT Center for Civic Media, published in First Monday. By Erhardt Graeff, Matt Stempeck, and Ethan Zuckerman:
How exactly do stories move across the wide array of information channels we use? The researchers conclude: “Our analysis finds that gatekeeping power is still deeply rooted in broadcast media…Without the initial coverage on newswires and television, it is unclear that online communities would have known about the Trayvon Martin case and been able to mobilize around it.”
2) “Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters”: From the Pew Research Internet Project. By Marc A. Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Schneiderman (University of Maryland) and Itai Himelboim (University of Georgia):
Having analyzed millions of tweets, the researchers conclude that political discussions often show “polarized crowd” characteristics, whereby a liberal and conservative cluster are talking past one another on the same subject, largely relying on different information sources. Of course, you still see old “hub-and-spoke” dynamics, or “broadcast networks,” where mainstream media are still doing the agenda-setting.
3) “Shares, Pins, and Tweets: News Readership From Daily Papers to Social Media”: From Duke University, published in Journalism Studies. By Marco Toledo Bastos:
The author looks about 16,000 articles on the news sites from late 2012; he also analyzes article links circulated on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Delicious, and StumbleUpon. Some raw data findings relating to links posted on social media prove interesting: Times articles earned an average of 39 retweets on Twitter and 445 shares on Facebook, while Guardian articles saw an average of 50 retweets and 190 Facebook shares.
Bastos concludes: “The results show that social media users express a preference for a subset of content and information that is at odds with the decisions of newspaper editors regarding which topic to emphasize.”
And that’s just three of the twelve papers chosen. It’s a social media geek’s holiday miracle.