Library and Learning Resources Faculty Research & Creative Works


Social media have become an important component of contemporary information ecosystems. People use social media systems, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr to communicate ideas and information needs, seek advice and solve problems, show appreciation and disagreement with a person or issue. These tools facilitate the emergence of communities, often resembling the communities of practice that arise in workplaces and educational institutions, where a common interest, identity and set of norms and structures for communicating develop through interaction. But while it seems easy to "suck in" data streams from social media to understand online communities, making sense of the vast data sets has been challenging. The issues include not just the tools and methods for extracting and synthesizing large data sets like the Twitter Firehose, they also extend to the ethical and responsible use and reporting of this data for academic and commercial purposes.

This panel will focus on methodological approaches and research strategies for the study of social media communities, in particular web 2.0 tools that play an important role in the North American cultural landscape.

Meeting Name

75th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 2012 ASIS&T (2012: Oct. 28-31, Baltimore, MD)


Library and Learning Resources

Keywords and Phrases

Online communities; Research methods; Social media; User generated content

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0044-7870; 1550-8390

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2012 Hsin-liang Chen and Yin Zhang, All rights reserved.