Social Media Lab’s Computational Social Science (CSS) Bootcamp – Summer 2021

By Communalytic

Join us for the Social Media Lab’s Computational Social Science (CSS) Bootcamp (Summer 2021 Edition) to learn how to use Communalytic, a new research tool designed to study online communities and online discourse. Communalytic can collect and analyze public data from various social media platforms including Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook/Instagram (via CrowdTangle). It uses advanced text and social network analysis techniques to automatically pinpoint toxic and anti-social interactions, identify influencers, map shared interests and the spread of misinformation, and detect signs of possible coordination among seemingly disparate actors.

In total, there are 6 different free training sessions included in this #CSS bootcamp. Each session will cover a different topic. We recommend that you sign up for all six sessions. We will be meeting via Zoom every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 10 am-11:30 am(ET) between May and July, 2021. The sessions are completely free, but you will need to register to receive the Zoom link and email reminders. If you are not able to attend in real time, come back to this page to review recordings of each session. See the schedule below.

Session Instructors

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Professor and Director of Research at the Ryerson University Social Media Lab. Situated at the intersection of social media research, information management, and communication, Dr. Gruzd’s multidisciplinary program focuses on how social media data can be used to tackle a wide variety of societal problems from combating COVID-19 misinformation to helping educators navigate social media for teaching and learning. Dr. Gruzd is the co-creator of Communalytic and is also the developer of Netlytic. He is currently serving his second term as a Canada Research Chair, examining the application of new privacy-preserving technologies, such as blockchains and differential privacy, particularly in academic research settings.

Philip Mai M.A., J.D., Co-director and Senior Researcher at the Ryerson Social Media Lab. Philip is also the co-founder of the International Conference on Social Media and Society. In his work, he focuses on tech policy issues, knowledge mobilization, and information diffusion via online networks. Philip is the co-creator of Communalytic. He is currently working on a CIHR and WHO funded project to study and combat the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and on a new app that will allow Twitter users to curate their Twitter timeline.


Session#1Getting Started with Communalytic: Data Collection from RedditMay 13, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)
Session#2Toxicity Analysis with Reddit Data using Perspective APIMay 27, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)
Session#3Getting Started with Communalytic: Data Collection from Twitter (Twitter Thread via API v2.0 and Twitter Academic Track) June 10, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)
Session#4Toxicity Analysis of Twitter Data using Perspective API

Note: The session will feature a guest talk by Dr. Paola Pascual-Ferra, Associate Professor at the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland. Dr. Pascual-Ferra will present on their newly published study in which their team used Communalytic and Perspective API (along with some other tools and techniques) to examine polarized discourse about wearing face masks on Twitter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 24, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)
Session#5Social Network Analysis of Signed Networks with Reddit and Twitter dataJuly 8, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)
Session#6Getting Started with Communalytic: Data Collection from Facebook & Instagram (via Crowdtangle API) + Social Network Analysis of Two-mode Semantic Networks with Crowdtangle data.July 22, 2021, 10:00-11:30am(EDT)

Session Recodings

Session 1: Getting Started with Communalytic: Data Collection from Reddit (Recorded on May 13, 2021)

Session 2: Toxicity Analysis using Perspective API (Recorded on May 27, 2021)

Session 3: Getting Started with Communalytic: Data Collection from Twitter (Twitter Thread via API v2.0 and Twitter Academic Track) (Recorded on June 10, 2021)

Session 4: Toxicity Analysis of Twitter Data using Perspective API (Recorded on June 24, 2021)

Session 5: Social Network Analysis with Communalytic (Recorded on July 8, 2021)

Session 6: Data Collection via CrowdTangle (Facebook/Instagram) + Two-mode Semantic Nets + Twitter Bot Detection with Botometer API (Recorded on July 22, 2021)