Social Media as Research

Group Members: Sam Legros, Stanley Tsai, Jodie Quach, and myself

Social Media is the contemporary virtual space for information. Content is being mass produced by millions every hour or every day. This method of researching information between users can have its perks, as well as its downfalls.

YouTube is a great social media tool which allows users to create the content. They are in full control of what is said and done in their videos. Once a video is uploaded to YouTube, it is automatically distributed to the millions of viewers. The problem with this is that virtually anyone can create content. That being said, what distinguishes content from being accurate to just outright nonsense? The answer lies with the viewers. It is up to them to determine what channels produce information of integrity and accuracy.

Twitter is one of the fastest way to spread information to a vast audience in a short amount of time. Live Tweeting is very common for every sort of event that occurs on this planet. Political voting, award shows on television, natural disasters, etc… A problem with having 250,00 tweets talking about the same thing is the overflow of information. If there is a sort of “telephone” effect to the tweets. Where one instance may begin with something, but ten minutes in, the information is distorted along the way and is rendered inaccurate.

Blogs! Just like this one! Where users or groups express their opinions to literally any subject. Posting information or personal opinions on blogs is a great way to get your voice out to the public. With comment sections, they can really spark debates, dialogues, and conversations. However, similar to YouTube, because anyone can create the content, or comment on the content, the overload of users may inhibit any positive intentions of a blog. It would be difficult to analyze the credibitily of research done using a blog because the source can remain unknown.

One of the biggest collection of information on the internet would be wikis. Although they are jam packed with information, the same problem arises questioning if said information is valid. One specific example is that of Wikipedia. An extensively large collection of information that can be edited by professionals in their respective fields. This site is a great resource for preliminary research, it gives a general overview of almost any subject. Wikipedia is benefitial for research because it provides external sources relating to a pertaining topic. This method of triangulating resources is an efficient way to determine whether the information is accurate or not.

Click here to view the presentation.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microblogging

http://webtrends.about.com/od/web20/a/social-media.htm

http://www.youtube.com/

http://nms.sagepub.com/content/14/8/1269