I recently completed a dissertation titled, Hobbyist inter-networking and the popular internet imaginary: Forgotten histories of networked personal computing, 1978-1998. The elevator pitch is that it offers a history of popular social computing grounded in the dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSes) of the 1980s and 1990s. Henry Jenkins was the committee chair along with François Bar and Alison Trope. Currently, I am working on a book based on this research, tentatively titled Dial-Up: A Prehistory of Social Media.
I'm also working on a number of projects related to popular culture and political talk online with my former colleagues from USC including François Bar, Dayna Chatman, Lian Jian, Jieun Shin, and Kjerstin Thorson. Using a combination of macro-scale computational methods (thematic clustering, natural language processing) and micro-scale textual analysis, we have explored rumor diffusion and de-bunking, humor and live-tweeting during televised presidential debates, and the interrelationship of Black Twitter and Scandal fandom.
Photo credit: Mikael Kennedy, 2007