Program Course Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication

In an earlier post I announced my new and upcoming course Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication in the Radboud Summer School. This current post presents the general schedule of the course. In short, the morning sessions focus on theories about social media in political communication and journalism. The afternoon sessions are hands-on sessions  on data collection, and data analysis. The afternoon sessions will particularly focus on what you can and can not do with social media data, although I do think you can do a lot more that you might think initially. You will also perform analysis yourself. The main tool will for social media analysis will be R. Why? In short, it’s free, flexible, has specific packages for social media data, works on Windows, Apple and Linux computers and in the cloud (if you want to). There are many more advantages and of course some disadvantages (there’s no perfect software package). I am working on a blog-post about R as a tool for analysis, so stay alert for a new post.

Regarding the afternoon hands-on sessions, I already have several English language social media data sets available for empirical analysis. These are tweet data, profile data as well as social network data.

DAY 1 (AUGUST 1, 2016)

  • Kick-off meeting of the course


  • Introduction to social media, theory and data
  • Presentation of student’s project interests

DAY 2 (AUGUST 2, 2016)

  • Approaches to studying social media data in journalism and political communication


  • The collection of social media data: API’s and software tools
  • Empirical descriptions and visualization of social media data
  • Approaches to longitudinal analysis of social media data

DAY 3 (AUGUST 3, 2016)

  • Social media content analysis: theory and methods
  • Content analysis: political and news issues, sentiment analysis


  • Different approaches to analyzing social media content data
  • Analyzing social media content

DAY 4 (AUGUST 4, 2016)

  • Social network analysis on social media data
  • Different approaches to networks on social media: social relations, hyperlinks, retweets and texts


  • Analyzing social networks and communication networks on social media

DAY 5 (AUGUST 5, 2016)

  • Advanced approaches to analyzing social media data
  • Setting the agenda for social media research in journalism and political communication


  • Student presentations
  • Reflection

Further general information about the Radboud Summer School can be found here.

New publication on social media and social movements in South Korea

Late December 2015 our chapter Voicing Discontent in South Korea. Origins and Channels of Online Civic Movements by Se Jung Park and myself was published in The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics and edited by Axel Bruns, Gunn Enli, Eli Skogerbø, Anders Olof Larsson, and Christian Christensen. The edited book consists of a large and diverse collection on social media and politics.

Our chapter consists of three sections. The first section “South Korea’s Path to Wealth and Democracy” is a brief look into South Korea’s recent history of developing into a democracy and economic prosperity driven by Korea’s technology industry (cf. Samsung, LG). The second section focuses on the distinct Korean Web culture and its fast Internet infrastructure. The third section focuses on the sociopolitical relations in South Korea’s collectivist culture. Using World Values Survey data we compare South Korea to other countries, in terms of confidence in political institutions such as parliament and government, civil services, and political parties. In the following section three cases on social movements and social media are presented: Candlelight protests, citizen journalism: OhmyNews, and Gangjeong Movement. The subsequent section focuses on Internet regulation and Election Laws in South Korea, followed by the conclusion.

A big thank you to the editors for inviting to contribute and a special big thank you to Nicki Hall, the project coördinator, for managing this project. More information about the book can be found on the publisher’s website Routledge and on Amazon.

Below are some pictures of a 2008 Candlelight protest that turned violent, the Sewol Candlelight protest of 2014 as well as some videos of recent protests (November 2015) against president Park Geun-hye’s policies. Although these protests are violent, according to experts (mentioned in the first video) South Korea is in a transition to peaceful rallying.

Radboud Summer School course “Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication”

I am pleased to announce that I will teach a course on social media theory and data in journalism and political communication. It will take place in the first week of August 2016 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Click to read the course description.

Social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Plurk, Renren) are important new digital platforms for online social networking and microblogging to discuss all kinds of issues (serious and trivial).
A subdivision of social media research concerns how regular people (citizens), political actors (politicians, organisations) and media professionals (journalists) use social media to share opinions about issues, create online communities and use social media strategically to inform or to win over people, e.g., to vote for them. In this course you will learn how to look at this social media data to understand how journalists, politicians, and citizens use social media. The course has three main parts: (a) theorizing social media, (b) theorizing theories about online journalism and political communication, and (c) methods of data collection and analysis of social media.
Social media theories will look at the specifics of social media design and how this affects online communication and networks. This theme is applicable to all kinds of social media and connected digital media. Subsequently we will look at creating social media theories for journalism and political communication using traditional and new approaches to create social media theories such as agenda setting research and networked journalism. Furthermore, we will discuss and use methods of collection and analysing social media data. The empirical and hands-on part will focus on understanding the structure of social media data (e.g., networks based on social connections but also sharing activities), the dynamics of social media data (e.g., change across time of social media activity) and the actual content of social media (i.e., expressed opinions).
In the morning programme the main focus will be theory, although methods will be a part of those sessions. In the afternoon we will have hands-on meetings on how to collect social media data, how to develop measurements instruments and analysing social media in terms of structure and content.

General information about summer courses from the Radboud University in 2016 can be found here.