This site serves as the central research space for the QUT Social Media Research Group (SMRG), a group of social media researchers in the Creative Industries Faculty (and beyond) at Queensland University of Technology; we’ll use it to document our projects and publications as well as to highlight interesting developments elsewhere which relate to our research agenda.
A little background to get us started: QUT is the leading research university in Australia in the field of media and communication research, as one of only two universities in Australia which were awarded the highest possible rating – well above world standard – for this field of research in the Australian federal government’s Excellence in Research Australia assessment exercises in both 2010 and 2012. Digital and social media play an especially important role in this research field, of course, and much of the research which examines their uses and their impact on society takes place in the Creative Industries Faculty, not least also through the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) which is headquartered at QUT – but we also work closely with our colleagues in other QUT Faculties as well as with a large network of colleagues around the world.
Our activities cut across a wide range of social media tools and platforms, from the market leaders Facebook and Twitter to popular content sharing sites such as YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram, and on to collaborative knowledge bases like Wikipedia. We study such platforms – and the wider collaborative and communicative activities which they represent – from a number of angles, including close qualitative readings and in-depth ethnographic studies as well as innovative quantitative analyses which consider such sites as a source of ‘big data’; importantly, too, our interest is in understanding these platforms as emerging, evolving, dynamic sociotechnical spaces which are embedded in a wider media ecology that is itself dynamic and never settles into a stable equilibrium for long.
At the moment, the SMRG team includes some two dozen research staff and higher degree research students, and the material already published on this Website will give you a first flavour of the various research activities which we’re pursuing at this point. Over the coming months, we’ll be sure to feature an even greater range of current student and staff projects, and we’re always very interested in your feedback and any further opportunities for collaboration. Do get in touch, and remember to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow our Twitter account at @socialmediaQUT, and check back regularly for further updates.