My research focuses on the use of social technologies for relationship maintenance. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to study and design social technologies. View my full list of publications on my Google Scholar Profile or CV.

Research Projects

Present:

Supporting Freshmen, Northwestern University

Dissertation project advised by Jeremy Birnholtz

Freshmen

The adjustment college and living away from home for the first time can be challenging for many students. I am currently collecting data for my dissertation study on family communication during adjustment to college. I am also analyzing interview data exploring how students use technology to receive support from distant family members while adjusting to college.

 

Butler Lies, Cornell University & Northwestern University

Collaboration with Jeremy Birnholtz, Jeff Hancock, Megan French, & others

Butler

Butler lies are a type of deception commonly used to manage (un)availability for interaction with others while maintaining social relationships. Named in reference to the historic role butlers played in managing their masters' availability. We are styudying how butler lies are told using social media today. This work is funded by the NSF and has been featured in the NY Times.

 

 

Previous:

Group Messaging, Microsoft Research

Collaboration with John Tang

Group Messaging

Group messaging has become popular, particularly among adolescents, but had not previously been explored in the HCI literature. We interviewed 48 adolescents, aged 15-24, who use group messaging regularly. We developed a framework for understanding the types of groups they communicate with according to three dimensions: focus, membership, and duration. We also explored the problem of notification overload and users’ strategies for managing frequent notifications.


Digital Deception, Cornell University

Collaboration with Jeff Hancock, Claire Cardie, Myle Ott & others

Review Skeptic

Many people rely on online reviews from other customers when making purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, these reviews are sometimes deceptive, such as those written by someone hired to write a positive reviews of a product he has never used. This project uses language models to identify fake reviews. Learn more and try it out at reviewskeptic.com

 

Facebook Confessions, Northwestern University

Collaboration with Jeremy Birnholtz & Nick Merola

FB Confessions

Recently popular, Facebook Confession pages present an interesting juxtaposition of anonymous and identified communication. College students anonymously submit confessions that are viewed and respond to by named Facebook members. This anonymous space within an offline community provides a unique space for students to seek support from an extended network of peers.

 

Face Threats on Facebook, Northwestern University

Collaboration with Eden Litt, Erin Spottswood, Jeremy Birnholtz, & others

Awkward

Impressions on social networking sites are informed not just by the content we post ourselves, but also by what our friends post about us. Content posted by others can be face threatening when it does not align with one's desired self-presentations. We conducted a survey to investigate how people manage face-threatening Facebook posts. Eden Litt will be presenting our paper at CSCW '14 in Baltimore.

 

Facebook Limiting and Leaving, Cornell University

Collaborated with Eric Baumer & others

Facebook Break-up

Although there is an abundance of research about users of social networking sites, relatively little is known about those who choose not to use these sites. We conducted a survey focusing on Facebook and users who have chosen not to use, to limit their use of, or to leave the site. Victoria Sosik and I presented our paper at CHI 2013 in Paris last May. Media coverage included: Science NewsLine and Social Times

 

Frontstage, Cornell University

Collaborated with Megan Halpern & others

Frontstage

Frontstage is an iOS audience participation system designed to be used in a wide variety of contexts. We were interested in how users appropriate and interpret the device, and, by extension, their relationship to the presenter and the audience. I worked on user testing and evaluation of the initial iPod app; a paper about this project is currently under review.

 

Going to College, Cornell University

Collaborated with Mary Nguyen, Charles Lai, Gilly Leshed & Eric Baumer

College

This project first got me interested in studying the transition to college. We interviewed college freshmen about their use of technology to communicate with their parents. Our CSCW '12 paper discussed the variety of tools these students described using to connect with their parents as well as the role of these communication tools in mediating students' closeness with, and independence from, their parents.

 

Therapeutic Virtual Reality, Ithaca College

Collaborated with Andrada Voinitchi & Sharon Stansfield

VR Game

The goal of this research was to develop a virtual reality game to be used by children with Cerebral Palsy and complement their regular occupational therapy exercises. Our project was funded by a CREU grant from the CRA-W. Our final report is available online and we presented a poster at the Ithaca College James J. Whalen Academic Symposium in 2009.

 

Tots on Bots, Ithaca College

Collaborated with Sharon Stansfield, Carole Dennis, Helene Larin, & others

Tots on Bots

This project aims to develop a robotic mobility device to be used by children with physical disabilities, who are too young to operate wheel chairs. In our system, the child sits on a Nintendo Wii Fit and "drives" the robot by leaning. I presented a paper at RESNA 2010. My video was shown at at HRI 2011 and a Robot Film Festival. Media coverage includes Popular Science, Engadget, Gizmodo, and others.