Repurposing Digital Methods in a Post-API Research Environment: Methodological and Ethical Implications

Alessandro Caliandro

Abstract


Especially after the social media curtailing brought about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it has become increasingly difficult to do social media research by using digital methods as well as following the medium. This condition brings in new methodological and ethical challenges. This article proposes some methodological strategies to ‘repurpose’ digital methods in a post-API research environment. The discussion draws on three case studies: 1) studying Instagram stories: the scraping dilemma; 2) studying smartphone in everyday contexts: researching digital environments not connected to APIs; 3) studying fake news on Twitter: dealing with increasingly useless APIs data. For each case study methodological and ethical implications are examined. In conclusion, the article suggests that a possible viable strategy to repurpose digital methods in a post-API era is to follow the natives (along with the medium), that is, to take advantage of the natively digital methods through which social media users manage their own data as well as emic conception of what is ethical (or at least acceptable) regarding the handling of their own data.


Keywords


digital methods; post-API; follow the natives.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13136/isr.v11i4S.433

Copyright Licenza Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC-BY)



 - Peer Reviewed Journal

Indexed on: Google Scholar, ProQuest - Sociological Abstracts, Ebsco Discovery Service, Scopus, ERIH PLUS, DOAJ.

Scientific Magazine classified for ANVUR (Resolution n.89 del 6th November 2012)

Scientific Magazine class A according to ANVUR (Resolution of 11th August 2020)

ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola

Publisher:Quiedit