We need to do social media justice

Yay! I’m happy to announce that my latest paper, written together with my awesome supervisors, has been officially published in the new APA journal Technology, Mind and Behavior! The paper, titled Toward Improved Methods in Social Media Research, has been a culmination of the literature review I started in the beginning of my PhD project, and I’m happy to see this labour of love out in the world.

What once started as a ‘nice-to-have’ overview of the studies that have been done in the field of social media use and wellbeing, turned into a (critical) discussion of the way in which this research has been done so far. And guess what — you get what you give.

Meaning, if we approach a complex phenomenon like digital tech use (and social media use, specifically) with no level of detail, we get no level of detail back in terms of insight. Unfortunately, that level of detail has been missing in many studies on social media use and wellbeing so far. It’s not all bad, though, and it’s definitely not too late to learn from our mistakes.

However, what was most important to me and my co-authors was to make sure that we contributed to solving the problems as well. So, crucially, what started as a review turned into a — hopefully helpful — collection of concrete suggestions for how we could do better in the future! If we employ more detailed, sensitive and flexible research methods (which unfortunately will require greater effort on our part), we will inevitably gain better insights.

Research is tough, and the only way to move forward is to acknowledge the difficulties we face when researching such complex phenomena. (: The paper is open access, which means you can read all of it without having to pay for it, so please feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.

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