Andreas Birkbak, Assistant Professor, Aalborg University Copenhagen, ab (at) learning.aau.dk
David Moats, Research Fellow, Linköping University, david.moats (at) liu.se
Veikko Eranti, Postdoc, Tampere University, veikko.eranti (at) tuni.fi
Anders Kristian Munk, Associate Professor, Aalborg University Copenhagen, akm (at) learning.aau.dk
Media technologies have received little attention in STS to date (Marres and Moats 2015), at least relative to the attention given to the technologies of other fields such as health, energy, and science. At the same time, a subset of media technological practices going by the name of social media are currently receiving an intense amount of societal and academic interest. Whole journals and conferences are dedicated to the matter, such as the Social Media+Society journal and the Social Media & Society conferences. The general aim of this panel is to explore and invigorate what is going on in the interfaces between STS research and social media research in the Nordic countries and beyond, and to provide a platform for scholars working across these topics to locate each other and exchange experiences. Among the more specific questions that can be asked, we are especially interested in the issue of what social media data and related digital methods have to offer longstanding STS interests in knowledge controversies, public participation in science and technology, participatory design, and user agency. Social media have to some extent been conceived as a new treasure trove of data waiting to be explored by the social sciences and the humanities, but have clearly also been the object of significant social critique. How can STS sensitivities give direction to such efforts and what does it look like to work hands-on with digital methods and social media data in STS-informed projects? We especially encourage the submission of ongoing empirical work that struggles with the many challenges related to social media data (and data from online platforms more generally) in concrete empirical research practices, including (but not limited to) scripts for data harvest, data storage, handling big data sets, tools for data analysis, visualization, research ethics, legal considerations, and concerns related to the recent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU.