Social Media Collective


Meryl Alper, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University, recently published Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability and Inequality with MIT Press.

We’re both interested in qualitative research that explores the value of technological access and the cultural scripts for ‘proper’ use, so I thought it would be good idea to dig into some of these issues with Meryl as a way of introducing more people to her excellent book.

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Information wants to be free (maybe) – but do we want it to be leaky?

At the same time that regular people are stepping up tools for information control, Trump’s presidency has seen an incredible wave of leaks from the White House and other government agencies.

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How do mobile devs make privacy work? [0.17]

Posted on April 30, 2017, 2 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

How do mobile devs make privacy work?

I recently published a pair of articles with Katie Shilton exploring how mobile app developers help each other learn what privacy means and how to build that abstract value into their software.

Android Apple apps cultures developer development forum iOS platform privacy


FATE postdoctoral position opens at MSR NYC [0.20]

Posted on March 20, 2017, 7:07 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

The FATE group (Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics) at Microsoft Research New York City (MSR NYC) is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to start in July, 2017.

Microsoft Research provides a vibrant multidisciplinary research environment, with an open publications policy and close links to top academic institutions around the world.

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We get the sharpest, most impressive crop of applicants for ourSocial Media Collective internship, it is no easy task to turn away so many extremely promising PhD students.

Ysabel Gerrard is a PhD Candidate in the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds.

communication culture ECREA examines media pleasure published social Studies Ysabel


What’s queer about the internet now? [0.13]

Posted on Feb. 28, 2017, 4:37 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

What’s queer about the internet now?

This past month, I organized the Queer Internet Studies Workshop with my longtime friend and collaborator, Jack Gieseking, and Anne Esacove at the Alice Paul Center at UPenn.

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Katrin Tiidenberg (Aarhus University, Denmark and Tallinn University, Estonia) and SMC Principal Researcher Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research, New England) have recently published an article in Social Media + Society that analyzes how pregnancy is performed on Instagram.

You can read their findings here.


Whether it is Facebook’s trending topics; Amazon’s delivery of Prime orders via Alexa; or the many instant responses of bots we now receive in response to consumer activity or complaint, tasks advertised as AI-driven involve humans, working at computer screens, paid to respond to queries and requests sent to them through application programming interfaces (APIs) of crowdwork systems. The truth is, AI is as “fully-automated” as the Great and Powerful Oz was in that famous scene from the classic film, where Dorothy and friends realize that the great wizard is simply a man manically pulling levers from behind a curtain.

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Amplifying the Presence of Women in STEM [0.00]

Posted on Dec. 8, 2016, 6:54 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

Recently, feminist media scholars have demanded we take seriously seriously the dearth of women and people of color in computing fields.

Mary L. Gray, senior researcher at the Social Media Collective, was recently featured in Microsoft’s “17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027,” which sought to work against this gap by highlighting 17 women from within their global research organization.

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Just a reminder, January 1 is the deadline for applications for the summer 2017 internship program with the Social Media Collective, at Microsoft Research New England.

The Social Media Collective (in New England, we are Nancy Baym, Tarleton Gillespie, and Mary Gray, with current postdocs Dan Greene and Dylan Mulvin) bring together empirical and critical perspectives to understand the political and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies.

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Uber has TV ads now. But all credit to Uber, because this ad seems to be an accurate representation of their business model and the reason why they, founded in 2009 and officially launched in 2011, and the rest of the gig economy have grown so rapidly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

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The Social Media Collective (SMC) is a network of social science and humanistic researchers, part of the Microsoft Research labs in New England and New York. It includes full-time researchers, postdocs, interns, and visitors.

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Teaching on Day 1 of Trump [0.04]

Posted on Nov. 10, 2016, 7:14 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

This post was spurred by an email from Tarleton Gillespie and Hector Postigo to contribute to a collected series that appeared on Culture Digitally today. I spent the morning avoiding news coverage, deeply angry at an institution I’m supposed to be invested in.

communication looked Made media news student talked times told Versus


Pundits and commentators are just starting to pick through the rubble of this election and piece together what happens and what it means. I have to admit that I have trained myself right down to a fine point: social media, public discourse, technology, control, law.

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In 1979, Harvard professors Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin identified what they saw as a shortcoming in American and English evolutionary biology.

The spandrel serves as a useful analogy to describe some inevitable dynamics of complex systems: what appear as primary features may in fact be the byproducts of some other systemic element; these byproducts of design features are nevertheless potential resources for future co-optation; and the often arbitrary division between primary cause and secondary byproduct obfuscates how systems (biological, architectural, technological) develop, over time, in ways that cannot be so neatly atomized.

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SMC at AoIR 2016: Internet Rules! [0.15]

Posted on Oct. 3, 2016, 4:26 p.m. by Social Media Collective @ [source]

The 17th annual meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers is being held this week (Oct 5-8) in Berlin, Germany. It is a thrill to see so many past and present SMC members presenting their latest work, especially with Kate Crawford as part of the conference’s plenary panel Thursday evening.

conference Crawford Kate latest members past present presenting SMC Thrill