Critical Digital & Social Media Research: A Research Focus of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies
Critical Digital & Social Media is a research theme and focus of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS). Social media such as social networks (eg Facebook, LinkedIn, Renren, WeChat), blogs (eg Blogspot, Wordpress, Tumblr), content sharing sites (eg YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, Youku), microblogs (eg Twitter, Weibo), or wikis (eg Wikipedia) have in recent years had profound impacts on society. There are also other new trends in the world of computing such as big data, the Internet of things, cloud computing, the digital commons, the online sharing economy, mobile digital communication, etc. And besides these new phenomena, there are established forms of digital media such as e-mail, search engines, online discussion, online communities, online publishing, online journalism, content sharing platforms, etc. All the digital phenomena that make up the world of digital media are subjects of Critical Digital & Social Media Research.
Digital & social media research addresses the question: What is the role of digital & social media in society, the economy, politics, and culture? Answers to these and other challenging questions tend to be oversimplified, neglecting the complexity of interactions between digital/social media and society. The Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies conducts profound and far-reaching critical and interdisciplinary research that allows the public to understand the impact of digital & social media on society. It not only conducts Internet, digital and social media research, but also advances critical methodological, theoretical, epistemological, ontological, and ethical approaches for studying the Internet, digital and social media’s role in - and impact on - society.