Netherlands, Nijmegen

Social Media Theory and Research

when 1 July 2019 - 5 July 2019
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 550

Social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Plurk, Renren) are important new digital platforms for online social networking and microblogging to discuss all kinds of issues (serious and trivial). Basically, whatever keeps people busy. This kind of public communication has received lots of positive but also negative attention in the mainstream media as well as in the social sciences.

This course will introduce participants on what typical social media data (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) tells us about politicians’, journalists’ and citizens’ engagement in society. Using a multi-theoretical approach (communication political, psychological), participants will learn how to look at these actors’ online behaviour, their expressed opinions and sentiments as well as their interconnectedness (online social networks). Furthermore, attention will be devoted to the potential that social media data provide but also to the limitations of social media data.

Social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Plurk, Renren) are important new digital platforms for online social networking and microblogging to discuss all kinds of issues (serious and trivial). Basically, whatever keeps people busy. This kind of public communication has received lots of positive but mainly negative attention in the mainstream media as well as in the social sciences. A subdivision of social media research concerns how regular people (citizens), political actors (politicians, organizations) and media professionals (journalists) use social media to share opinions about issues, create online communities and use social media strategically to inform or to win over people, e.g. to vote for them.

In this course you will learn how to look at these social media data to understand how journalists, politicians, and citizens use social media. The course has three main parts: (a) theorizing social media in general, (b) theorizing online journalism and (c) theorizing online political communication.

Theorizing social media will look at specifics of social media design and how this affects online communication and networks. This theme is generic to all kinds of social media and connected digital media. Subsequently we will look at theorizing social media in journalism and political communication using traditional and new approaches to theorize social media such as agenda setting research, networked journalism. Furthermore we will discuss methods of collection and analysing social media data. The last part of part C will focus on understanding the structure of social media data (e.g. networks based on social connections, but also sharing activities), the dynamics of social media data (e.g. change across time of social media activity), the actual content of social media (i.e. expressed opinions).

Course leader

Maurice Vergeer
Assistant professor
Communication Science
Radboud University

Target group

Advanced Bachelor
Master
PhD
Post-doc
Professional

This social media course is for the curious at heart, specifically regarding online social relations and online communication on social media. Even though there are many complaints about social media, being addictive, polarizing, and invested with Fake News, we as academics still have a lot of ground to cover to understand the role of social media in news, political campaigns, and media hypes. At the same time, social media communication can turn out to be quite complex (cf. networked communication). Due to this complexity, students who want to apply have a broad interest in social and communication processes. Students who like the in-depth analysis of online social behaviour and online content, and do not eschew the occasional mathematical formula, this course is for you.
Professionals in the media industry also might benefit from joining the course. For instance, journalists as professionals are using social media to broadcast news. These journalists might understand.

Course aim

After this course you are able to:

Theorize how journalists and politicians use social media; there are several theoretical approaches to understanding social media use in general, but also specifically in the fields of political communication and journalism,
Understand the different methods needed to test theories on social media in political communication and journalism; specific theories and hypotheses require specific research designs, methods and techniques.

Fee info

EUR 550: Normal fee

Scholarships

€ 495 early bird discount – deadline 1 March 2019 (10%)
€ 468 partner + RU discount (15%)
€ 413 early bird + partner + RU discount (25%)

Register for this course
on course website