AAPOR announces the release of an important report, Social Media in Public Opinion Research, authored by the Emerging Technologies Task Force. As social media platforms – such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to name a few – expand and proliferate, so does access to users’ thoughts, feelings and actions expressed instantaneously, organically, and often publicly, across these platforms. At question is how researchers and others interested in public opinion derive reliable and valid insights from the data generated by social media users.
The report, Social Media in Public Opinion Research, highlights the use of social media as a vehicle for facilitating the survey research process (i.e., questionnaire development, recruitment, locating, etc.) and as a way of potentially supplementing or replacing traditional survey methods (i.e., content analysis of existing data). It offers an initial set of guidelines and considerations for researchers and consumers of social media-based studies, noting the opportunities and challenges in this new area.