Social Source It’s  Become True!

Social Source It’s Become True!

 Social Media as a Primary Source

Where once people wrote letters to each other and kept paper journals and diaries, they now write blogs and communicate with each other via e-mail and on social media. Consider searching blogs and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find posts from people at an event. As you should with all your research, be sure to evaluate social media sources to make sure the information is authentic. 

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Social Media

History 2.0: Social networking and mobile devices enable anyone to become participants in history as it happens.

Twitter posts and other social media products are primary sources of twenty-first century history as it happens. How can a researcher validate these sources?

Timestamp: When an event occurs or news breaks there may be hundreds of posts. Try to find the first posts about the event, by trying various keywords and paging back. Social media users may be among the first to have knowledge something's up and may offer additional context depending on the story.

Contextual posts: Immediately check the user's page for related posts. Frequently someone posts a follow-up post or precedes the "breaking post" with pertinent information. This could provide additional context for the event as well as helping to verify a person who may be posting pictures or other content from an event scene.

Authority: Check the user's bio. Is this a journalist? Is it a random person off the street? A prankster? See if you can find a web site or blog to learn about them. It's important to have some idea who the user is as you assess the validity of the information.

Check for related posts: If someone says they heard an explosion in Lahore, what are other people in Lahore posting about? Check that and see if anyone else is reporting this. Chances are if a series of diverse people are posting about it at the same exact time, an event is occurring.

Talk to them directly: Get a conversation going, ask for more information and, if possible, build a relationship. This will help with creating a profile of the person who posted and assist in piecing together their connection to the story.

Example: Travel Blogs

When researching a country, you might look for travel blogs of people who have visited those places to have a first-hand account of what the country is like.

Adventurous Kate

One woman's blog about traveling the world as a solo female.

The Expert Vagabond

Matt has been constantly traveling the world for the past four years.

Example: Twitter Hashtag Reveals Black Student Experience

When writing a paper about the experiences of minority students attending universities, you could quote the #BlackOnCampus tweets of students to add first hand information about the experiences and opinions of minority college students.

Code: 02812 

Examples: Social Media in Scholarly Papers

Here are several scholarly journal articles demonstrate how Twitter might be used as a primary source.

Earthquake Twitter

Twitter messages offer first-hand accounts of earthquakes within minutes. Analyses of their content and geographic distribution can be a useful supplement to instrument-based estimates of quake location and magnitude. From Nature Geoscience 3, 221 - 222 (2010).

Twitter as an indicator for whereabouts of people? Correlating Twitter with UK census data

The objective of this paper is to explore the semantic association between georeferenced tweets and their respective spatiotemporal whereabouts. From Computers, Environment and Urban Systems Volume 54, November 2015, Pages 255–265

Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook.

Online social networking sites have revealed an entirely new method of self-presentation. This cyber social tool provides a new site of analysis to examine personality and identity. The current study examines how narcissism and self-esteem are manifested on the social networking Web site . From CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking. Aug2010, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p357-364.