Call into the platform! Merging platform grammatisation and practical knowledge to study digital networks

Translated title of the contribution: Call into the platform! : Fundindo a gramatização da plataforma e o conhecimento prático para estudar redes digitais

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This paper introduces a medium-specific research perspective as fundamental basis for Social Sciences and Communication fieldwork. It points to the importance of combining knowledge on platform grammatisation with data research practices (capture, mining, analysis and visualization) to study digital networks. That is what we refer to as call into the platform; an effort to account for the technical fieldwork and digital methods in an interdependent position to research. In this conception, and through the case of Portuguese Universities on Facebook, we interrogate how digital networks contribute to the research contexts of communication and social sciences studies. To respond to this question, two distinctive digital networks were explored, shedding light in the institutional connections and the visual culture of the higher education in Portugal. The first comprises all connections made by a given Page - the act of liking other pages or being liked in return (Page like network). The second is built upon the affordances of computer vision APIs - the connections between images and their descriptive labels (Page timeline image-label network). Beyond providing new ways to design and implement research that can be repurposed for different studies, the main contribution of this study lies in embracing the methods of the medium as key component for digital social sciences.
Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)89-122
Number of pages34
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Social media research
  • Facebook
  • Digital methods
  • Image-label network
  • Portuguese universities
  • Vision API

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