Research Areas

Voice, Attention, and Civic Action

Building on the success of #HashtagActivism,  we have expanded our research to examine the networked dynamics of voice and influence among marginalized communities in political and civic life more generally. Our work focuses on resolving a growing paradox in civic engagement literature. On one hand, with a relatively low cost of entry, easy-to-use interface, and diverse user base, social media may offer people from marginalized communities a unique forum in which to exercise voice and receive attention on political and social issues. On the other hand, biases that preference traditional elites in political action also continue to preference traditional elites online, as these are the very people who design, own, have best access and most skill to use online platforms. In collaboration with  the Lazer Lab, study whether/how voice and attention continue to vary by race, gender, and socioeconomic status online, and how these variations correspond with traditional markers of political impact including media coverage, voting, campaign donations, and other forms of offline civic and political action.

Lab members

Current projects

Sustained Online Amplification of COVID-19 Elites in the United States
Pandemics, Protests, and Publics: Demographic Activity and Engagement on Twitter in 2020

Hashtag Activism

The proliferation of social media has given rise to widespread speculation about the relationship between new media communication and the processes of social change. Key among these discussions is a focus on the role that social media play in (re)shaping the public sphere, and by proxy, our democracy. This interdisciplinary suite of projects explores how social media influence which voices are included in this democracy. We argue that “hashtag activism" allows ordinary marginalized people to advance counter narratives that lead to important social change. Sometimes maligned as “slacktivism” in the press, our research suggests that social media, especially Twitter, are increasingly complementing traditional counterpublic spheres to become vital platforms for deliberation, advocacy, and activism.


Lab members

Current projects

Waves of Attention on Twitter: Cases of Extrajudicial Police Shootings in the U.S.

Joint work with Annie Waldherr at the University of Münster

Measuring Affective Dynamics in Polarized Publics and Counterpublics

Supported by a NULab Seedling Grant

Networked Publics and the Structure of Amplification

Smartroom Technology and Teams

Exclusion in the workplace is costly for individuals and employers alike. Yet, research shows that most efforts to prevent or mitigate exclusion do not work in the short or long term. With collaborators in Northeastern’s Collaborative Social Systems Lab, RPI, and the US Army Research lab, we use sophisticated, privacy-preserving sensing systems to design and test technologies that augment human workgroups to prevent exclusion and promote inclusion at all stages of the work process. As work has moved online due to the pandemic, so too has our research. Our current efforts aim to detect key signals of social exclusion and inclusion within teams made up of diverse members in virtual settings. We aim to identify, on a micro-level, the verbal and non-verbal processes that build and maintain social inclusion in virtual teams, in order to build unobtrusive, assistive, and affordable technology solutions that encourage social inclusion in the workplace.


Lab members

Current projects

Key signals of social inclusion/exclusion in virtual teams

Joint work with Christoph Riedl at Network Science Institute, Northeastern University and Richard J. Radke at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Gender and Teams
Studying gender biases in team dynamics
Studying cognitive biases in team dynamics

Networked Mobility

People’s lives are shaped and constrained by the places they go.  This project explores the hidden influences of mobility networks on the  experiences of marginalized people and groups. From job opportunities, to information ecosystems, to the spread of pandemic diseases, we aim to understand how mobility -  online and offline - and marginalization interact.

Lab members

Current projects

Information Ecosystems by Place and Space
Faculty on the Move: Academic Relocation Trajectories and Career Success