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Primary Sources: Social Media

Social Media

Social media can be good resource for primary resources. Many modern events are documented in real time on social media platforms like Twitter. 

Challenges of Social Media Research

  • People communicate on private networks, delete their accounts, or delete posts. Search to see if an archival or research institution has an archive of social media from the events you are researching.
  • Beware of bots or other disinformation actors.
  • If tweets are not in your primary language, you need to speak the language or find an effective way to translate the post or tweet.

Searching Social Media

A search engine like Google may or may not index the social media platform you want to search (or it may only search a short period of time).

Social media platforms don't always have good search tools. You can only search public posts, not any that are set to private.

Detecting Misinformation