Social media is a group of interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications that allow users to create and exchange user-generated content via virtual communities. Social media platforms have a large user population who generate massive amounts of digital footprints, which are valuable data sources for observing and analyzing human activities/behavior. This entry focuses on social media platforms that provide spatial information in different forms for Geographic Information Systems and Technology (GIS&T) research. These social media platforms can be grouped into six categories: microblogging sites, social networking sites, content sharing sites, product and service review sites, collaborative knowledge sharing sites, and others. Four methods are available for capturing data from social media platforms, including Web Application Programming Interfaces (Web APIs), Web scraping, digital participant recruitment, and direct data purchasing. This entry first overviews the history, opportunities, and challenges related to social media platforms. Each category of social media platforms is then introduced in detail, including platform features, well-known platform examples, and data capturing processes.
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