Introducing the ‘Big Data & Society’ Journal Special Theme on ‘Social Media & Society’

With faster computers and cheaper storage, bigger data sets are becoming abundant. Social media is a key source of big data in the form of user and system generated content and interactions. What do we do with all of the social data and how do we make sense of it? How does the use of social media platforms and the data that they generate change us, our organizations, and our society? What are the inherent challenges and issues associated with working with social media data? These are some of the questions we set out to answer in a new on-going special theme on Social Media & Society in Big Data & Society (BD&S), an open access journal published by SAGE.

Social Media and SocietyThis special theme is built around research presented at the International Conference on Social Media & Society (#SMSociety),  an annual interdisciplinary academic conference organized by the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University.  The Conference features both quantitative and qualitative interdisciplinary works related to the broad theme of ‘Social Media & Society’. The first set of papers, published under this theme and being announced here, came from the 2014 Conference (Toronto, Canada, September 27-28).

This special theme is unique in a number of ways. First, it includes works that specifically focus on the intersection of big data and social media research. Second, papers in this theme take a user-centric perspective to studying big data practices. They do this by examining how or why different user groups rely on social media and in turn contribute to the rapid growth of user-generated big data. Finally, this special theme presents studies that take a more granular look at ‘big’ data through careful sampling and the application of both quantitative and qualitative methods. 

You can access the full text of papers in this special theme of Big Data & society at: If you have any question or have a manuscript related to the broad theme of ‘Social Media & Society’ and big data, please contact Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, the lead editor for the BD&S special theme issue.

Table of Content:

  • Introduction to Articles from the 2014 Conference on Social Media & Society
    Anatoliy Gruzd
    Big Data & Society, Dec 2015, DOI: 10.1177/2053951715621570
  • Big Data and The Phantom Public: Walter Lippmann and the fallacy of data privacy self-management
    Jonathan A Obar
    Big Data & Society, Oct 2015, DOI: 10.1177/2053951715608876
  • Networks of digital humanities scholars: The informational and social uses and gratifications of Twitter
    Anabel Quan-Haase, Kim Martin, Lori McCay-Peet
    Big Data & Society, June 2015, DOI: 10.1177/2053951715589417
  • Examining political mobilization of online communities through e-petitioning behavior in We the People
    Catherine L Dumas, Daniel LaManna, Teresa M Harrison, SS Ravi, Christopher Kotfila, Norman Gervais, Loni Hagen, Feng Chen
    Big Data & Society; Aug 2015,DOI: 10.1177/2053951715598170
  • Connected or informed?: Local Twitter networking in a London neighbourhood
    John Bingham-Hall, Stephen Law
    Big Data & Society, Aug 2015,DOI: 10.1177/2053951715597457