2.3 Big data: Quotes for a start

  • “We have life in the network. We check our emails regularly, make mobile phone calls from almost any location… make purchases with credit cards… [and] maintain friendships through online social networks… These transactions leave digital traces that can be compiled into comprehensive pictures of both individual and group behavior, with the potential to transform our understanding of our lives, organizations and societies” (Lazer et al. 2009)
    • Traces = by-products (Salganik 2017, 13); Observational data (not experimental)
  • Digital footprints collected from online communities and networks enable us to understand human behavior and social interactions in ways we could not do before” (Golder and Macy 2014)


Golder, Scott A, and Michael W Macy. 2014. “Digital Footprints: Opportunities and Challenges for Online Social Research.” Annu. Rev. Sociol. 40 (1): 129–52.

Lazer, David, Alex Pentland, Lada Adamic, Sinan Aral, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Devon Brewer, Nicholas Christakis, et al. 2009. “Social Science. Computational Social Science.” Science 323 (5915): 721–23.

Salganik, Matthew J. 2017. Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age. Princeton University Press.