Audience research and social media data: Opportunities and challenges

Rob Procter, Alexander Voss, Ilia Lvov

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The widespread adoption of social media platforms and other information and
communication technology innovations not only pose new challenges for audience researchers but also provide exciting opportunities to re-invigorate audience research as an academic topic as well as a practical pursuit. In this paper, we outline some general methodological issues that arise when seeking to exploit these opportunities, drawing on our experiences of using Twitter as a resource for measuring audience engagement with the BBC World Service (BBCWS) in the context of global media events, specifically the London
Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014. We conclude by arguing that social media are not simply a new source of data about audiences but a new forum for unprecedented interaction and collaboration with the audience and, in this respect, they are phenomena to be studied in their own right.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-493
Number of pages24
JournalParticipations: Journal of Audience Reception Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Audience research methods
  • Social media
  • Big social data
  • Twitter


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