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The Networked China Researcher

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Challenges and Possibilities in the Social Media Age

image of Asiascape: Digital Asia

The internet has opened up new possibilities for scholars to gather data and, in general, to stay updated on rapidly changing developments in the Chinese society. Social media has added yet another dimension as it enables researchers to follow events and public debates as they unfold as well as facilitate engagement and interactivity with informants and other contacts. This article is based on the author’s own experiences and discusses the possibilities and challenges of using Chinese social media platforms. It calls for an explicit reflexivity on rapidly changing technologies. The article also addresses the fact that the researcher leaves many digital footprints on the internet and social media, and the advantages and possible dangers in an authoritarian society such as China. The article is written as a reflection piece and a call for more open and systematic discussions on how digital technologies change research practices in and on China.

Affiliations: 1: Lund UniversityCentre for East and South-East Asian Studies p.o. Box 118, se-221 00 LundSweden


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