What Social Media Data We Are Missing and How to Get It
Paul Resnick, Eytan Adar, and Cliff Lampe

Most electronic behavior traces available to social scientists offer a site-centric view of behavior. We argue that to understand patterns of interpersonal communication and media consumption, a more person-centric view is needed. The ideal research platform would capture reading as well as writing and friending, behavior across multiple sites, and demographic and psychographic variables. It would also offer opportunities for researchers to make interventions that make changes and additions to the information presented to people in social media interfaces. Any attempt to create such an ideal platform will have to make compromises because of engineering and privacy constraints. We describe one attempt to navigate those tensions: the MTogether project will recruit a panel of participants who will install a browser extension and mobile app that enable limited data collection and interventions.

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 2015, 659(1):192-206

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