Social Studio is a powerful tool for investigating big topics with lots of tweets, forum posts, website articles, etc. But it can also be helpful for looking at what this researcher calls “niche issues” in social media. One such topic might be aging for LGBT people.
According to the US Census Bureau, people 65 years and older are the fastest growing group in the United States. In fact, people 85 years and older are the fastest growing group. This has brought us to a reality unseen in world history where older people (65+) have outnumbered the youngest people (5-) according to the United Nations. This has enormous connotations for all of society…but aging is not a one sized fits all experience. For instance, a quick website perusal of SAGE (advocacy and services for LGBT Seniors) suggests that older LGBT+ people for instance face a number of general as well as unique challenges for aging successfully.
As you might suspect, LGBT aging is a niche issue as far as social media is concerned. A search for “Aging” in Social Studio resulted in 126,000 hits from sources across the internet. Narrowing this search to “LGBT” and “Aging” produced a paltry 24 hits.
When working with a niche topic in social media, there are different approaches you can take. You can do a deeper dive into the small amount of resources you find. Or you can do a broader search to see what you can glean on your specific topic. Or you might try to broaden your initial search but keeping a focus on your niche topic by searching with other key words. This third approach is what we will try here.
After doing this initial search, I will export the sources by going up to the right hand side downward arrow that is located on the “Feed” column of the Social Studio topic profile page (Hint: If these words make no sense to you, come see a Social Studio staffer for a demonstration!). Then edit the topic profile to search for the same topic using different words. The key words that come out of your initial search such as those shown above may help you in developing future searches.
For the topic of LGBT aging, we might also search for LGBT And Elders, or LGBT AND Aging AND HIV. We might also use the different hashtags shown to help with the search. It may take some time to find the key words that give you more results but that is okay. Take your time to try different searches. As you complete each search, be sure to follow the instructions above to export your results. If you do five different searches, you might then combine all of your findings into one Excel spreadsheet and remove duplicates.
If your initial search result was 25 and after combining the five searches together you have 100, you might find that many of the tweets from the different searches are duplicates. Or they might not be! But either way there is a great deal that your results can show you about the niche topic and how it appears on social media and elsewhere.
Niche topics are niche for a reason. But if they are a passion of yours, do not let the small amount of data dissuade you. There can be a great deal that we can learn from looking at these topics and Social Studio can be a useful tool in conducting your search. If you have not tried Social Studio yet for a class project or conference presentation, try it today!