The widespread adoption of smartphones has led to an explosion of mobile social media data, more than a billion messages per day that continuously track location, content, and time. Social Media in the Contemporary City focuses on the effects of social media on local communities and urban space in a variety of political and economic settings related to social activism, informal economic activity, public art, and global extremism.
The book covers events ranging from Banksy art installations, mobile food trucks, and underground restaurants, to a Black Lives Matter protest, the Christchurch mosque shootings, and the Pulse nightclub shooting. The interplay between urban space, local community, and social media in each case study requires diverse methodologies that are both computational (i.e. machine learning, social network analysis, and natural language processing) and ethnographic (i.e. semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis, and site analysis). The book views social media not as a replacement for local community or urban space but rather as a translation of the uses and meanings of all three realms.