An Innovative Methodological Approach to Analysing Social Media Movements

Connolly, Emma Anne (2024). An Innovative Methodological Approach to Analysing Social Media Movements. International Journal of Social Media and Online Communities, 16(1) pp. 1–22.



Social media movements take place in an increasingly volatile technological landscape. Researchers who want to analyse their spread must navigate methodological challenges relating to data accessibility, combining qualitative and quantitative data, and remaining attentive to the shifting technological affordances of social media platforms. In response to key challenges, the paper outlines an innovative, three-fold methodological approach to the analysis of social media movements integrating three strands: the Linguistic, Material, and Processual (LMP). Using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie as a case study, the paper demonstrates how an LMP approach can provide richer insights into social media movements which would be missed by most current methods. Its low-cost design, flexible approach, and technical accessibility equips the researcher in anticipation of further change in the technical landscape. The framework outlined in the paper can be applied to other social media platforms.

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