An Agenda for Comparative Social Media Studies: The Value of Understanding Practices From Cross-National, Cross-Media, and Cross-Platform Perspectives
We argue the descriptive fit and heuristic power of social media scholarship is much increased when incorporating a comparative turn. To this end, we offer analytical categories for organizing research that has sought to (a) rely on multicountry data from nations worldwide; (b) place the use of social media in relation to other media; and (c) examine more than one platform at a time. Building on these three strands of comparative scholarship from communication and media studies, we propose future research trajectories in comparative social media studies highlighting cross-national, cross-media, and cross-platform dimensions of social media use. Specifically, we focus on two possible pathways that seem especially fruitful: histories and languages. We conclude by reflecting on the theory-building potential of exploring the intersections across the three types of comparative work.