Talk: Collecting and Analyzing Social Media Data Using SocialMediaLab


Friday, Apr 15th 2016 at 2:00 PM
Woodburn Hall 200
Dr. Robert Ackland
Australian National University


Abstract: VOSON SocialMediaLab is an R package that provides a suite of tools for collecting and constructing networks from social media data. It provides easy-to-use functions for collecting data across popular platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) and generating different types of networks for analysis. SocialMediaLab also collects the associated text data from social media platforms (e.g. Tweets, Facebook fan page posts and comments, YouTube video comments).

In this workshop, participants will learn how to collect various types of social media data using SocialMediaLab and generate different types of ‘ready-made’ networks for analysis. Participants will also learn basic network and text analysis using R packages such as igraph and tm.

Assumed knowledge: A basic familiarity of R (or other programming languages) and basic concepts from network and text analysis.

This is a SSRC Workshop in Methods (WIM).

Bio: Robert Ackland is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Sociology and the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University. His PhD was in economics, focusing on index number theory in the context of cross-country comparisons of income and inequality. Robert has been studying online social and organisational networks since 2002 and his research has been funded by five Australian Research Council grants. His research has appeared in journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Social Networks, Computational Economics, Social Science Computer Review, and the Journal of Social Structure. He leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks Lab which was established in 2005 with the aim of advancing the social science of the Internet by conducting research, developing research tools, and providing research training. Robert established the Social Science of the Internet specialisation in the ANU's Master of Social Research in 2008, and his book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in 2013. He created the VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis, which has been publicly available since 2006 and is used by researchers worldwide.