In Digital Methods, Richard Rogers proposes a methodological outlook for social and cultural scholarly research on the Web that seeks to move Internet research beyond the study of online culture. It is not a toolkit for Internet research, or operating instructions for a software package; it deals with broader questions. How can we study social media to learn something about society rather than about social media use? Rogers proposes repurposing Web-native techniques for research into cultural change and societal conditions. We can learn to reapply such “methods of the medium” as crawling and crowd sourcing, PageRank and similar algorithms, tag clouds and other visualizations; we can learn how they handle hits, likes, tags, date stamps, and other Web-native objects. By “thinking along” with devices and the objects they handle, digital research methods can follow the evolving methods of the medium.
Rogers uses this new methodological outlook to examine such topics as the findings of inquiries into 9/11 search results, the recognition of climate change skeptics by climate-change-related Web sites, and the censorship of the Iranian Web. With Digital Methods, Rogers introduces a new vision and method for Internet research and at the same time applies them to the Web’s objects of study, from tiny particles (hyperlinks) to large masses (social media).
About the Author
Richard Rogers is University Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam and the author of Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press).
The realization I was left with after reading the book, above all, was that of the sheer scope and size of what lies before digital social researchers who are interested in how users and digital objects mutually constitute each other, the politics of software and the historiography of the web.”—Information, Communication & Society
—Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
—Saskia Sassen, Columbia University; author of Digital Formations
Winner, 2014 Outstanding Book Award given by the International Communication Association