The latest issue of the Journal ICONO14 (Vol 18 No 1 (2020): Computational methods in Communication ) includes an article by Janna Joceli Omena, Doctoral researcher at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, ICNOVA, iNOVA Media Lab and by António Granado, Assistant Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, ICNOVA, iNOVA Media Lab, entitled “Call into the platform! Merging platform grammatization and practical knowledge to study digital networks”.
Available in #OpenAccess here.
This paper introduces a medium research perspective as a fundamental basis for Social Sciences and Communication fieldwork. Drawing from the affordances of digital networks, it points to the importance of combining knowledge on platform grammatization with data research practices (capture, mining, analysis and visualization). That is what we refer to as call into the platform. Rather than shifting our attention away from the object of study to primarily focus on the technical fieldwork, we assume this latter as something that takes part in the doing of digital social sciences research. For this purpose, we present the case of Portuguese Universities on Facebook, which comprises all public universities in Portugal including one private. The study interrogates how digital networks serve communication and social sciences studies. To respond to this question, we explored two distinctive digital networks that shed light in the institutional connections and the visual culture of higher education in Portugal. The first, Facebook Page Like network, comprises all connections made by a given page; the act of liking other pages or being liked in return. The second is built upon the affordances of computer vision and depicts the connections between images and their descriptive labels: a network of Facebook Pages timeline images. Beyond providing new ways to design and implement research that can be repurposed for different studies, the main contribution of this paper lies in embracing the methods of the medium as key for digital social sciences.