Social media research

Brook Bolander
Table of contents

Positioned within the Handbook’s ‘Traditions’ section, this entry probes changes and developments in pragmatic research on social media. While social media is characterised as an example of Web 2.0, the chapter’s focus on change and development means it also discusses research that would commonly be seen as illustrative of an earlier stage in web development, or Web 1.0. This history is important for understanding the contemporary diversification of research foci, contexts, data and methodology. Given the wealth of scholarship on social media from a broadly sociolinguistic perspective (encompassing pragmatics), the chapter attempts to avoid extensive listing of literature according to research themes and areas. Whilst presenting examples and providing readers with further literature, it is based instead around a discussion of the ways in which the context for language use online has been viewed and complicated over time, and across various research traditions. This provides the foundation to reflecting upon how changes in what counts as context are relevant to research foci, and choice of data and methods.

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