Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Roundtable-11: Approaching Instagram
Saturday, 05/Oct/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Tama Leaver
Location: P512
(cap. 96)

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Approaching Instagram

Crystal Abidin1, Tim Highfield2, Tama Leaver1, Mari Lehto3, Anthony McCosker4

1Curtin University, Australia; 2University of Amsterdam; 3University of Turku; 4Swinburne University

Instagram has more than a billion users, more than half a billion daily users of their Stories format, and despite being owned by Facebook remains a platform that’s vastly more popular with young people, and synonymous with the cultural zeitgeist. Despite the importance of Instagram, and other visual social media platforms, including Snapchat, it remains under-studied and under-researched compared to parent company Facebook, or Twitter. As Instagram/Facebook have, in recent years, truncated and limited researcher access to Instagram data via their APIs, new approaches have emerged, some drawing on older qualitative approaches to understand and analyse Instagram media and interactions (from images and videos to comments, emoji, hashtags, stories, and more) while at the other end large web scrapers have also been developed to collate Instagram data at scale. While all 5 initial discussants have pioneered specific research methods for approaching Instagram (across quantitative and qualitative fields), our intention is to broaden the discussion moving beyond (just) methods to larger questions and ideas of engaging with Instagram, including vital questions of trust: trusting the platform; trusting the algorithms; trusting ‘big’ data; researchers trusting their tools; and Instagram users trusting researchers.

Initial Discussants:

• Dr Crystal Abidin, Curtin University

• Dr Tim Highfield, University of Amsterdam

• A/Prof Tama Leaver, Curtin University

• Mari Lehto, University of Turku

• A/Prof Anthony McCosker, Swinburne University

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