Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. I recently completed my PhD at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley). My research examines social media, youth practices, tensions between public and private, social network sites, and other intersections between technology and society.
In my dissertation, I investigated how American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube. I was interested in how the architectural differences between unmediated and mediated publics affect sociality, identity and culture.My dissertation research was funded as a part of the MacArthur Foundation's Initiative on New Media and Learning. My research was supervised by a most astonishing committee: Mimi Ito, Annalee Saxenian, Cori Hayden, and Jenna Burrell. My beloved PhD advisor - Peter Lyman - lost his battle with brain cancer in July 2007. I miss him dreadfully.
In recent years, I have studied Twitter, blogging, social network sites (e.g. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook...), tagging, and other forms of social media. I have written papers on a variety of different topics, from digital backchannels to social visualization design, sexing of internet interactions to creating artifacts for memory work. I also blog and tweet frequently on a wide variety of topics. Along with other members of the MacArthur Foundation-funded project on digital media and learning, I helped co-author a newly published book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.
I did my Master's Degree at the MIT Media Lab's Sociable Media Group with Judith Donath (supervised also by Henry Jenkins and Genevieve Bell). My master's thesis focused on how people manage their presentation of self in relation to social contextual information in online environments. As an undergraduate, I studied computer science at Brown University, advised by Andy van Dam. My undergrad thesis focused on how prioritization of depth cues is dependent on levels of sex hormones in the body and how this affects engagement with virtual reality.
Outside of academia, I have worked at various non-profits and corporations. For five years, I worked at V-Day, an organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide. I helped build an online community to support activists around the world and I continue to do volunteer work for them. For a complete bio, click here.
On the web, I'm known for two things: maintaining an Ani DiFranco lyrics site and blogging prolifically. Personally, I love music, dancing, politics, reading, and all things fuzzy. At my core, I'm an activist and a scholar.