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Nicole Ellison to speak on digital social practices on March 29, 2024

March 25, 2024

Nicole Ellison

Nicole B. Ellison received her PhD in Communication Theory and Research from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.  Nicole's research has explored social and interpersonal aspects of online technologies and computer-mediated communication, including research on self-presentational strategies used by online dating participants; the role of social media in reshaping college access patterns for low-income and first-generation college students; and the ways in which users employ the communication affordances of Facebook to receive and give social and informational support to members of their network. This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Academies of Science. Ellison is currently the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

In this talk, I will share two empirical studies and discuss the opportunities and challenges surfaced by contemporary AI-related communication practices and social media scholarship more broadly. First, I will introduce the concept of the ‘non-click’ (Ellison et al., 2020) - instances in which social media users attend to social media content but choose not to leave a visible digital trace. I will highlight findings from an eye-tracking and interview study in which we investigate why users might make this choice and describe some of the implications of this for AI and social media scholarship moving forward. Then I will describe more recent work on the Algorithmic Crystal (Lee et al., 2022), a framework for conceptualizing users’ relationship with algorithms such as the TikTok For You Page, with special attention to how these algorithms might shape our understanding of identity and our connection to other users. Finally, I will end with some observations about AI-mediated communication and related research opportunities and challenges.