11/3/2023 Jeremy Birnholtz

Jeremy Birnholtz, Professor, School of Commmunication, Northwestern University

Title: Self-Presentation in Socio-Technical Life: How We Present Ourselves to Each Other in a World of Digital Platforms

Date: November 3, 2023

Time: 3:30 PM

Room: Luddy Auditorium 1106

Abstract: Self-presentation, rooted in Goffman’s classic work, is the fundamental social process by which people shape their public personas and play the social roles (e.g., teacher, student, lesbian, doctor, etc.) that structure our everyday interactions. Today’s social platforms and communication technologies, however, complicate this process in ways that Goffman could never have anticipated. Specifically, the “physics” of how information moves in the environment have changed and can vary widely from platform to platform. And we lack a systematic framework for discussing these differences and how people cope with them (and their consequences). In this talk, I will discuss a book manuscript Michael Ann DeVito and I are working on to address this gap. I will give an overview of the framework, our focus in particular on LGBTQ+ populations, and how we can use this work to better understand and describe important social behavior in a range of online contexts.

Bio: Jeremy Birnholtz is a Professor in the Communication Studies and, by courtesy, Computer Science Departments at Northwestern University. He is a recent past Van Zelst Research Professor and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern, and has also worked as a visiting professor at Facebook. Jeremy has been studying the social dynamics of online attention and self-presentation for nearly 20 years in work supported by the National Science Foundation, Facebook and Google. His work has been published in top journals and conferences in HCI, organization behavior and communication.