Microsoft Research Social Media Collective Internship

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be spending this summer as an intern for the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. I’ll be working with Nancy Baym and Tarleton Gillespie on a project that examines the discursive work of Facebook’s and its Newsfeed. I am so thankful for the opportunity and look forward to meeting everyone at Microsoft and the other interns.


Ingress Players Survey

As part of our promise to participants in the Ingress Players Survey we are posting the results here. We also interviewed a number of respondents which accounted for a large portion of the time spent on data collection and analysis. Thank you for your patience as collecting and analyzing all the data we acquired took some time.

Participants in the survey were Ingress players over the age of 18. We received 1973 usable responses. At the time of collection the highest level an Ingress player could reach was Level 8. As with all surveys of this nature, self-selection and self-reported responses are a limitation of the results, as is the distribution method: we distributed the survey through established Ingress communities so the ability to reach new players was limited.

Players from 57 countries responded to the survey. Below is a breakout of the top ten countries represented. The majority of participants were located in the United States.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.59.47 PM

Here is the breakout by Faction:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.16.48 PM

Male respondents outnumbered female respondents by approximately 3-1.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.05.25 PM

Respondents marital status is listed below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.07.21 AM

Players were asked how long they had been playing. Given that the survey was distributed through established communities (and time playing is a condition of being invited to a community), it is not surprising that the majority had been playing for over 6 months:

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.01.10 AM

Players were asked to provide information about their education level, employment and income level. We have broken that information out by Faction and presented it below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.23.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.27.13 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.13.54 PM

Players were asked about the disclosures they make while playing. Because players were offered the option to “select all that apply” the totals add up to more than 100%. To read this table, for example, we would say “93% of respondents were asked to join a community.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.41.46 PM

Players were asked to select “all that apply” in regards to their modes of their transportation. As a result, the total adds up to more than 100%. To read this table, for example, we would say, “65% of respondents walk while they play.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.47.24 PM

Players were asked about the amount of money they spend on transportation for the game per week:

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.11.19 AM

Players were asked about the time of day they typically play. Players could select “all that apply” so the total adds up to more than 100%. To read this table, for example, we would say, “36% of respondents play in the morning.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.53.02 PM

Players were asked if they engaged in any “risky” behaviors while they play. Risky behaviors included playing in an area they deemed high crime, during severe weather, on dangerous terrain, or trespassing. Because players were asked to select “all that apply” the total adds up to more than 100%. To read this table, for example, we would say, “54% of respondents play in an area they deem high crime.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.33.16 AM

Thank you to all who participated.

Introducing Social Media + Society

Today marks the launch of a new, open access journal from Sage that is edited by Zizi Papacharissi and that I have the distinct pleasure to be working on.: Social Media and Society.  For this journal I will be working as the Editorial Assistant and Chair of the Graduate Student Advisory Board. The journal will feature interdisciplinary work that advances our understanding of social media’s impact on society. The journal submission site is online at and submissions are now being accepted.

The Politics of Platforms, Algorithms, And Big Data

Recently my research has taken a turn towards understanding the algorithms that mediate our daily lives. Whether as a function of social networking feeds, ad engines, search engines, and the like, more and more of the the content we encounter and therefore the potential bounds of our knowledge are shaped by the algorithms that determine which information is relevant for us. In my work I seek to engage with end users to ask how they understand, negotiate, and resist algorithms.

I’m also interested in how the digital traces we leave behind on social media sites can be used to understand things about the world. As a privacy researcher, I am often interested in policy and the debate that surrounds legislation. I have turned to Twitter as one approach to understanding how people use communication technologies such as Twitter to organize events, control information flows, and generate interest in their respective causes. I have used Twitter to research such instances as the CISPA legislation and the #Lightsout incident at the 2013 Superbowl. Moving forward, I am interested in looking at Twitter’s trending topics.

(Image shared under Creative Commons License 2.0 Image attribution: User: ApolitikNow Image Title: apolotik_algorithm Image URL:

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

I’ve just started to read Gabriella Coleman’s epic book on Anonymous, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy. It’s early in the read for me, so there isn’t a whole lot I can say about it yet. But right out of the gates, it’s been an interesting read. My first attempt to take a peek was at a quiet, little pub and I couldn’t get a page in because everyone that saw the cover wanted to ask about the book! It is a beautiful cover, and I know they say you can’t judge a book by one, but I think this image does a great job of shedding some light on what the reader will encounter: It’s intriguing, it draws you in, and it presents multiple perspectives of a tricky topic. Coleman gives a hair-raising account of the feelings she encountered not just as a scholar, but as a human. As a junior scholar, it is refreshing to get a view of the considerations scholars make especially in regards to personal safety, legality, and confidentiality. Coleman details these processes and more by revealing her thoughts and concerns at each stage. You get a real sense of the excitement and fears she encountered as she engaged in her research. In this way, readers get to understand the decisions Coleman made in her research and why. For this alone, I have found the read valuable. As I get further in, I will revisit this book and look more at the specific work she’s done. But if you’re looking for an immediate recommendation, I would say this book is definitely worth picking up.

Practicing With Python at OiiSDP

I was really upset to have missed Jonathan Bright’s python tutorial today. It was one of the things I was most looking forward to. But thanks to Jonathan Bright’s excellent slides and sharing of the files, and to Stephanie Steinhardt, who gave me a walk through of the presentation and some great additional pointers, I finally found myself able to run some python scripts! Given that at OiiSDP we’ve talked so much about the Facebook study, I thought I would see how much sharing commentary pieces about Facebook are getting on Facebook. Drawing on the scripts supplied by Jonathan Bright, and pulling from the archive of media and commentary regarding the Facebook study (managed by James Grimmelmann), I loaded every commentary URL to see how many times it has been shared on Facebook. There were just over 60 of the commentary type articles. I’ll paste the results below. I noticed the script seemed to fail about 22 links in. I thought it might be a bad link causing the problem, so where the script failed I would remove that link from the list and run it again. I didn’t find that ever got me more than about 20 or so results, from spot checking. So, I am assuming this is a result of rate limits, but I’m not entirely sure. If anyone has the answer I’d love to know. Anyway, if you’re interested, here are the results. I put in author information for the “Top Ten” although keep in mind, this is just the top ten of the 22 URLs that were examined.

1. Accessing results for:
Authors: Arthur Caplan & Charles Seife
It was shared 4488 times

2. Accessing results for:
Author: danah boyd
It was shared 1624 times

3. Accessing results for:
Author: David Gorski
It was shared 1614 times

4. Accessing results for:
Author: James Grimmelmann
It was shared 1378 times

5. Accessing results for:
Author: Tarleton Gillespie
It was shared 1307 times

6. Accessing results for:
Author: David Auerbach
It was shared 930 times

7. Accessing results for:
Author: Kate Crawford
It was shared 808 times

8. Accessing results for:
Author: Chris Chambers
It was shared 719 times

9. Accessing results for:
Author: Sebastian Deterding
It was shared 557 times

10. Accessing results for:
Author: Dan Diamond
It was shared 221 times

11. Accessing results for:
It was shared 166 times

12. Accessing results for:
It was shared 162 times

13. Accessing results for:
It was shared 99 times

14. Accessing results for:
It was shared 95 times

15. Accessing results for:
It was shared 93 times

16. Accessing results for:
It was shared 81 times

17. Accessing results for:
It was shared 50 times

18. Accessing results for:
It was shared 27 times

19. Accessing results for:
It was shared 26 times

20. Accessing results for:
It was shared 14 times

21. Accessing results for:
It was shared 7 times

22. Accessing results for:
It was shared 6 times