Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society
In ―Star Trek‖, Scotty suggests that Transwarp beaming is ―like trying to hit a bullet with a smaller bullet, whilst wearing a blindfold, riding a horse‖ (Abrams, 2009). The study of social media faces similar challenges because new tools are developed at a rapid pace and existing tools are constantly being updated with new features, policies, and applications. Users tend to migrate, in often unpredictable ways, to new tools as well as to adopt multiple tools simultaneously, without showing consistent media preferences and habits (Quan-Haase, 2008). As a result, for scholars it sometimes feels as if the social media landscape changes too quickly to fully grasp and leaves scholars permanently lagging behind. We argue in this paper that beyond the ebb and flow of everyday events and seemingly idiosyncratic usage, trends exist underlying long-term trajectories, persistent social practices, and discernable cultural patterns.