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Digital Sociology in Action: A Case Study of Research on Black Twitter

Case
By: Roderick Graham Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Sociology
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Abstract

In recent years, media attention has been placed on “Black Twitter,” a collective composed primarily of African Americans who have managed to effect change through the microblogging platform Twitter. This collection of users has been credited with injecting uniquely Black concerns and perspectives into the national discourse. However, Black Twitter as an entity has not been theoretically contextualized and grounded in empirical research. In this case study, the author describes how he and his colleague explored this social media phenomenon. The author emphasizes the importance of understanding the way in which Twitter was designed, its architecture, to developing insightful research, and choosing appropriate methods. The author discusses (1) process of conceptualizing theoretically important ideas and operationalizing them, (2) the considerations involved with sampling, and (3) the use hierarchical cluster analysis to draw conclusions about from Twitter data.

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