Moving to Lehigh

I am thrilled to announce that I recently accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at Lehigh University. This position is part of a university-wide initiative called Data X. In my description, Data X acknowledges and incorporates the inherently interdisciplinary nature of data science. Lehigh made several cluster hires this past year as part of Data X, each with one faculty line in CSE and one in another department. For instance, I was part of a cluster hire between CSE and Journalism & Communication. Needless to say, this is an exceptionally perfect niche for me.

I’ll be winding down my position at Cornell and moving to Bethlehem, PA this fall, then starting at Lehigh in January.

Imagined Facebook: An exploratory study of non-users’ perceptions of social media in Rural Zambia

Status

Wyche, S.P. and Baumer, E.P.S. (2016). Imagined Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Non-Users’ Perceptions of Social Media in Rural Zambia. New Media & Society.

Abstract

This article describes an exploratory study of Facebook non-users living in rural Zambia. Drawing on evidence from 37 group interviews with mobile phone owners, we discovered that the majority of our participants were aware of, or ‘imagined’ Facebook, despite never having seen or used the site. Our analysis of how participants perceive Facebook suggests that they are interested in the communication and income-generating possibilities access to the site may provide, but that barriers prevent them from acting on these interests. This study contributes to social media research by making visible the experiences of a population whose non-use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) results from economic, infrastructural, and linguistic sources, as well as from other, hitherto less-explored areas. We discuss the practical significance of these findings, offer future research suggestions, and comment on what our respondents have not yet imagined about Facebook.

DOI

Two Papers at GROUP

Recently, I had two papers accepted for publication an the 2016 ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP). One is a full length paper about a long-term study of a “data-as-art” installation at Cornell. The other is a note length paper essentially arguing that machine learning and grounded theory have some deep, compelling resonances. While I played a primarily supporting role on both these, I’m excited about the arguments that each is making (and appreciative of the lead authors for involving me).

Machine Learning and Grounded Theory Method: Convergence, Divergence, and Combination

Status

Muller, M., Guha, S., Baumer, E.P.S., Mimno, D., and Shami, N.S. (2016). Machine Learning and Grounded Theory Method: Convergence, Divergence, and Combination. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP). (Sanibel Island, FL).

Abstract

Grounded Theory Method (GTM) and Machine Learning (ML) are often considered to be quite different. In this note, we explore unexpected convergences between these methods. We propose new research directions that can further clarify the relationships between these methods, and that can use those relationships to strengthen our ability to describe our phenomena and develop stronger hybrid theories.

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Building Mood, Building Community: Usage Patterns of an Interactive Art Installation

Status

Scolere, L., Baumer, E.P.S., Reynolds, L., and Gay, G. (2016). Building Mood, Building Community: Usage Patterns of an Interactive Art Installation. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP). (Sanibel Island, FL).

Abstract

To examine the processes by which appropriation happens around an interactive art installation in an organizational context, this paper presents a qualitative, longitudinal study of an interactive art installation called mood.cloud. While designed to collect and to visually display building occupants’ collective emotion, the installation was not necessarily used or interpreted in this way. Instead, building occupants saw the sensory experience of mood.cloud and the ability to change the display as a way to influence their own feelings, the feelings of others, and the overall workplace ambience. We found that interaction with mood.cloud fostered reflection about the relationship between the individual and the larger collective that the person is a part of. This relationship, between appropriation for individual benefit and appropriation for the benefit of others, afforded participants the opportunity to become more aware of their own contribution as part of a larger community. These findings suggest an opportunity to design systems around the interplay between appropriation for the individual and appropriation for the community.

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