Research on communication and information technologies is of growing importance to sociology and the interdisciplinary examination of communication and (new) media. This volume includes eight chapters examining recent developments in the field, illustrating the maturation, vibrancy, and diversity of this field of study as well as pointing to rich new avenues for scholarly exploration. Contributions aptly chart three key developments that characterize current research on communication and digital media. First, chapters demonstrate the maturation of work on measurement, demonstrating the importance of refining measurements of online activities and their consequences. For instance, contributions evaluate: social network measures frequently used in online research; alternative measures for online activity; and alternative measures of Twitter activity. Second, the volume showcases continued work on understanding user behaviour, including research on the consequence of reward systems similar to badges and on the limitations of purely technological solutions to social dilemmas in emergency preparedness. Finally, chapters identify emerging questions for the field related to social media, such as research on potential privacy and identity implications of social media, different dispositions toward social media use, and variation in levels of social media usage.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Information, Communication & Society.
Jennifer Earl is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona, USA. She is also Director Emerita of the Center for Information Technology and Society at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on social movements, information technologies, and the sociology of law.
Katrina Kimport is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science and a research sociologist in the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program at the University of California, San Francisco, USA. Her research focuses on gender, sexuality, and social movements.