This chapter outlines how one might utilize the massive amounts of web-based, geographically-referenced digital social data for geographical research. Because much of these data are user-generated and produced through social media platforms, we also focus on the pitfalls associated with such sources and the benefits of a mixed methods approach to these data. Not only can digital social data be mapped for visual analysis, it is also useful to use a range of quantitative methods to understand relationships between different subsets of the data. In addition, closer, systematic readings via qualitative methods of social data provides insights of particular people’s perceptions and experiences of the world around them. Thus, while making maps is often the starting point for geographers working with this kind of research, it is rarely the end point.
You can see the chapter on Google Books, or download a pre-publication version below.
Poorthuis, A., Zook, M., Shelton, T., Graham, M, and Stephens, M. 2016. Using Geotagged Digital Social Data in Geographic Research. In Key Methods in Geography. eds. Clifford, N., French, S., Cope, M., and Gillespie, T. London: Sage. 248-269.