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Chris BAIL : « Creating a New Paradigm for Research on Social Media »

November 29, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Sociology Seminar: Thursdays

Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm –
Date: 29th of November 2022
Place: Amphi 200 + zoom

Chris Bail : « Creating a New Paradigm for Research on Social Media »

Abstract : Scholars who study social media face a range of challenges including a lack of access to high quality data and an inability to conduct experiments in real world settings. Because of these challenges, most research examines the small amount of data that social media companies make available to scholars in a descriptive manner. This situation severely limits the capacity of researchers to examine how the design of social media systems shapes human behavior. I propose a new paradigm for social media research wherein scholars collaborate to create their own social media platforms for scientific research. I present two recent field experiments conducted on such platforms to demonstrate their promise. The first field experiment examines how anonymity shapes political polarization. The second field experiment examines how gendered avatars shape political persuasion. I conclude by offering insights about how these types of platforms could be scaled to examine a much broader range of topics via an open-source software collaboration between a large group of researchers, not unlike CERN.


Hadrien LE MER, Etienne OLLION, Patrick PRÄG (Pôle de Sociologie du CREST)

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