2019 Workshops

2019 Conference Workshops – Focused, in-depth learning sessions

Each year the #SMSociety conference features a variety of half-day workshop sessions designed to give attendees with an opportunity to learn, network, and take home valuable tools and knowledge to enhance their own research.

Note: There is no need to sign up in advance for the workshops. Participation in the workshops are included in the regular registration rate. The full schedule will be available by June 15, 2019.

Early Career Scholars Workshop with Jenna Jacobson, Ryerson University; Jeff Hemsley, Syracuse University; Jaigris Hodson, Royal Roads University; Zachary J. McDowell, University of Illinois at Chicago; Karen Louise Smith, Brock University
Abstract: This half-day workshop brings early career scholars together to address unique issues they face, develop strategies to achieve career goals, and foster a professional network of social media scholars. We define “early career scholars” as people who have completed the requirements for their terminal degree, but have not advanced to the next level in their field or industry (i.e. post-docs, non-tenured faculty, junior industry researchers). The International Conference on Social Media & Society (#SMSociety) brings together an interdisciplinary mix of scholars and this workshop provides an opportunity to foster community among emerging scholars and to create bridges between junior and senior scholars. We aim to continue working toward making this community as inclusive and representative as possible.
Introduction to Social Media Network Analysis with NodeXL with Wasim Ahmed, Northumbria University (UK);  Alex Fenton, Salford University (UK); Marc Smith, Social Media Research Foundation (USA)
Abstract:  This short course provides an overview of social network analysis (SNA) via NodeXL and demonstrates through theory and practical case studies its application to research, particularly on social media and digital interaction and behaviour records.
COSMOS – Democratising Access to Twitter Data with Luke Sloan, Cardiff University (UK)

Abstract: The COSMOS platform, developed and maintained by the Social Data Science Lab at Cardiff University, has been developed to provide non-technical researchers with easy access to Twitter data. It is a web-based application available at no cost to academic and not-for-profit organisations that allows researchers to collect live data from the Twitter API either as a random 1% sample (the ‘sprinkler’) or based on specific keywords. Unlike some social media data gathering tools, COSMOS uses a visual interface, and allows researcher to filter their data further for exporting in a variety of formats. Alternatively, using its intuitive drag and drop system, users can analyse their data in the platform through plotting tweets on maps, creating graphs, visualising networks and creating word clouds. Simple sentiment analysis (using SentiStrength) is also embedded in the platform.

In this interactive tutorial Sloan will demonstrate how to use COSMOS to:

    • Set up a Twitter data collection
    • Further refine datasets using keywords and other conditions
    • Generate a variety of visualisations including maps, charts, networks and word clouds
    • Export data for further analysis

Participants will be encouraged to start their own collections and experiment with their own data. Throughout the tutorial Sloan will reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of both using Twitter data and the technical limitations of the API, based on recent research. We will also reflect on the ethical implications of using Twitter data for social research.

Using web browsing history data to study social media use with Ericka Menchen-Trevino, American University (USA); Chris Karr, Audacious Software (USA)
Abstract: The tutorial will show participants what social media data are available in the web browsing history datasets on all web browsers and provide a hands-on tutorial on basic analysis of the data which can be integrated into quantitative or qualitative projects. The half-day tutorial will begin with a discussion of informed consent, featuring the data collection tool developed by Menchen-Trevino, Web Historian (2016), which was designed to collect such data using an interactive educational informed consent process and integrate multiple methods from surveys and experiments to ethnographies. Participants may use their own web browsing history in the tutorial, or a demo dataset. The tutorial will end with a broader discussion of privacy and research ethics based on our experiences analyzing our own data, and a general framework for doing so (see Menchen-Trevino, 2018).
Linking Social Survey and Social Media Data: Value, Data, Disclosure & Privacy with Luke Sloan, Cardiff University (UK); Anabel Quan-Haase, Western (Canada); Dhiraj Murthy, University of Texas (US), Grant Blank, Oxford Internet Institute (UK)
Abstract: This workshop follows on from two previous workshops at #SMSociety 2017 and 2018 on linking data. In 2017, we talked about what the value of linked data might be, what it might look like and what could possibly be linked. In 2018, we discussed consent rates for linked data, privacy concerns that participants in such a project might have, the vast array of data available through social media and data security issues. This year, we propose to develop the conversation further focusing on specific examples and delving deeper into the nuts and bolts of how survey and social media data can be linked, and what such linkage may actually look like.
Did you give permission? Critically Engaging the Mobile Data Ecosystem with Jennifer Pybus, King’s and Mark Coté, King’s College London (UK)
Abstract: This workshop will present tools and methods designed to bring greater transparency and user agency to data ecosystems on mobile devices. We will deploy our platform which enables access to and analysis of the coded permission of thousands of mobile apps. These have been developed across a series of Arts and Humanities Research Council UK funded cross-disciplinary research projects and in conjunction with the Berlin-based Tactical Tech Collective. Our participatory research has a simple aim: to cultivate critical understandings and literacies around the essential building blocks of datafication found on the social media mobile applications we use in everyday life. Our workshop will allow participants, regardless of their technical capacity, to examine the thousands of different Android manifests, and thus to explore the different kinds of permissions and trackers used by those apps which enable the flow of our social data to both first and third parties.
Detecting and Analyzing Social Bots with Open Source Tools with Amir Karami, University of South Carolina (US)
Abstract: The purpose of this workshop is to introduce novice and experienced researchers to social bots analysis. The participants will learn how to (1) collect Twitter data, (2) detect social bots, and (3) analyze the tweets of social bots.  The first session provides a detailed tutorial for Twitter data collection and text mining with R, and bot detection with Python. The second session is a mini lab session to help the participants to apply the tools on their own laptop and address their concerns.
Mining Text, Survey, Twitter & RSS Data with Stuart W. Shulman, Texifter (USA)
Abstract: Participate in this workshop to learn how to build custom machine classifiers for sifting free text, emails, survey responses, Twitter data, RSS feeds, and more. The topics covered include how to:
– fetch fresh sample Twitter datasets,
– construct precise or broad social data queries,
– join Twitter data teams working on #metoo, #balancetonporc, #cuéntalo,
– respect the “right to be forgotten”
– use Boolean search on raw data archives,
– filter on metadata or other project attributes,
– tabulate, explore, and set aside duplicates, cluster near-duplicates,
– crowd source human coding (annotation),
– measure inter-rater reliability,
– adjudicate coder disagreements, and
– quickly build word sense and topic disambiguation machine classifiers.