Between automation and interpretation: Using data visualization in social media analytics companies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter explores the use of data visualizations in social media analytics companies. Drawing on a dataset of ethnographic field notes and thematic interviews in four Finnish social media analytics companies, we argue that data visualizations are crucially involved in how analytics-based knowledge claims become accepted by companies and their clients. Basing on previous research on visualizations in organizations and as a representational practice, we explore their role in social media analytics. We identify three practices of using visualizations, which we named simple-boxing, flatter-boxing and pretty boxing. We argue that these practices enable analysts to achieve the simultaneous aims of producing credible and valuable analytics in a context marked by high business promises.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Visualization in Society
EditorsMartin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Publication date10 Apr 2020
ISBN (Print)978-94-6372-290-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-4854-313-7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 512 Business and Management
  • 518 Media and communications

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