Religion, social media and the web archive

Peter reblogs here a post on the ways in which his own study of contemporary religious history needs to come to terms with the ways in which social media content is (and is not) captured by traditional web archiving. As historians, we will need to understand how social media content is being archived, and the ways in which different archives of web-delivered content will need to be interrogated *together* to reconstruct the communication of individuals and organisations.


Late last year I was delighted to be invited to be one of four keynote speakers at a workshop on religion and social media at the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media in Oxford in May. Here are some initial thoughts on what I intend to say.

There has been an interesting upswing recently in scholarly interest in the ways in which religious people, and the organisations in which they gather together, represent themselves and communicate with others on social media. However, this work has been conducted relatively independently from the emerging body of scholarship on the archived web. Image by , CC BY 2.0 , CC BY 2.0

There are some reasons for this. First is the fact that much of the scholarship on social media tends to be focussed very firmly on the present. As such, data tends to be gathered directly from social media platforms “to order”, to match the…

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About peterwebster

Historian of twentieth century Britain; interested in religious history; digital history, scholarly publishing, web archives. In the fediverse at

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