What is the aim of Social Data Science?

The aim of Social Data Science is the Quantitative Understanding of Human Behavior.
Each word in this aim is important:
- Quantitative: As opposed to qualitative or descriptive, we aim for robust findings grounded in strong evidence that can be quantified.
- Understanding: Not just predicting, we want to be able to generalize and combine knowledge, and even to motivate interventions or policies.
- Human: We will not study particles or objects. Measurement validity and ethics will be a challenge.
- Behavior: Observable changes, structures, dynamics, and patterns; not just stories or theories

How are we going to do it?

Retrieving, processing, analyzing, and interpreting Digital traces.
Digital traces are the leftovers of information that we leave behind when we use Information and Communication Technologies. These happen when you use your mobile phone, when you use a search engine, and when you post something on social media. A famous example of digital trace data is this map: