Social media e social network sites come fonti di storia. Tra big data e software studies

Mario Pireddu


The historiographic method has been developed over time as a mediological research apparatus. Oral sources, written sources, material sources, and iconographic sources are media, and therefore physical recording, storage and circulation devices to which correspond specific circulation modes, general symbolization processes and social communication codes. The productions traceable within the universes of social media and social network sites belong to the sources available today. Since the main system of media objects production has changed, the researcher's work has to go through the analysis and the understanding of its basic mechanisms. The historical problem of source verification does not cease to be at the center of the research of the historian, but on the contrary it poses further challenges. These problems are similar to those of social researchers, because it is necessary to take into consideration a transformation of the reality of communication where offline and online environments are increasingly closely correlated, and where the possible forms of communication generate new possibilities for analysis. The change is qualitative and quantitative: the consumer of media objects becomes a varied set that includes a growing number of information and knowledge producers. Researchers are faced with the growth of disintermediation systems and accumulation of practices, relationships, and objects to deal with. Computational social sciences are also imposing on social sciences and historical research as disciplines that take advantage of the ability to collect and analyze data with unprecedented amplitude, depth and scale.

Parole chiave

sns, social media, research, history, big data

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