- Subject index
In terms of media and communication history, we are arguably in the midst of a social media paradigm. Well-known platforms like Twitter and Facebook have gone from being viewed as mere sites of teenage distraction to becoming embedded ICT infrastructure in mainstream organisations across the society, culture, and economy; such platforms, their uses, and their politics are increasingly entangled with everyday life, work, and relationships. For the past decade there has been a burgeoning interest in social media. This highly international Handbook addresses the most significant research themes, methodological approaches and debates in this field via substantial chapters specially commissioned from leading scholars coming from a range of disciplinary perspectives centered on but extending beyond the social sciences and humanities. Part One: Histories and Pre-Histories Part Two: Approaches and Methods Part Three: Technologies & Business Models Part Four: Practices & Problems Part Five: Social, Cultural & Economic Domains
Chapter 8: Ontology
The methodology of any domain depends, first, on clarifying what types of object are being researched – indeed can exist – in that domain: that is, on clarifying the ontology of that domain. The ontology of social media might seem wholly unproblematic: social media sites are certainly infrastructures with considerable, even massive, presence in our lives, the focus of our everyday habits of checking and updating, circulating and sharing. When 1.5 billion people are active monthly users of one leading social media platform alone (Facebook), then the ‘object’ of study is hardly trivial. But what type of object are we studying exactly? Again from one point of view, the question seems ...