METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN TRACING USER KNOWLEDGE OF INFORMATION FLOWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

Nicholas Proferes

Abstract


This position paper argues for the value of a mixed-method approach to understanding and contextualizing user-knowledge of information flows on social media sites, despite the challenges posed by such a process. There is an imperative need for such research because, as social media sites become further entrenched as dominant vehicles for communication, knowledge and beliefs regarding these technologies will play an ever increasing role in users’ abilities to understand information filtering bias on social media, gauge the risks for information disclosure, make meaningful decisions about use and how to protect their privacy, participate in conversations around how information flows in these spaces should be governed, and ultimately, these beliefs and sets of knowledge help shape users’ power relative to these systems.

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