This chapter investigates how social media platforms tailored for research can help entrepreneurship researchers in their data collection and analysis efforts. The widespread use in society of social media platforms, accessed through people’s smartphones, tablets and computers, represents a new opportunity for social scientists to collect both big and thick digital data. Most social media platforms are however designed for commercial purposes, restricting the research questions that can be meaningfully explored to a minimum. The aim of this chapter is therefore to explore a novel approach labeled “scientific social media” (SSM). A case study method is applied where an SSM platform called LoopMe is described in-depth and compared to similar phenomena. Generalizations from this case then lead up to an attempt to answer the question: Can SSM platforms offer disruptive benefits to entrepreneurship researchers, such as radically increased efficiency or new-to-the-world features? Some identified benefits of SSM include ability to combine key strengths of established research methods and ontologies, ability to triangulate in new ways and ability to conduct very cost-efficient longitudinal studies.
Karen Williams-Middleton, Martin Lackéus and Mats Lundqvist
Not long ago, entrepreneurship was considered something exotic only achieved by a precious few. Currently, entrepreneurship is basically everywhere, leaving people to figure out what entrepreneurship implies in their contexts. Many feel alienated by stereotyped definitions that do not match their lived experience, as ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ struggle to be separated from their narrow origins. Popular press and economic theory have made both terms inseparable from the creation of new economically successful firms. From desired outcome it follows that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are thus exclusively about having an identity and displaying behaviors that help reach this goal. Stereotyping then occurs in three ways: (1) through stipulating a certain outcome (successful firm) in a certain (economic) context; (2) by specifying certain behaviors, such as staying in control and appropriating, to achieve this outcome; and (3) by imposing an identity and mindset suitable for being this firm-creating and firm-controlling entrepreneur. If entrepreneurship and entrepreneur is all about creating economically successful new business, what about the entrepreneurial? A Google search of ‘entrepreneurial’ gives the impression that this adjective is mainly about existing in a way that results in the creation of a successful firm. However, along with this interpretation, there are also broader understandings, indicating a wider conceptualization including being innovative, creative, resourceful and adaptable, and embedded in different contexts other than in new firms. However, the broadening of entrepreneurship has also been met with critique that entrepreneurship then risks being diluted into meaning almost anything for anyone.