Keith N. Hampton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University. Before joining the faculty at Rutgers, he was an assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, and Assistant Professor and Class of '43 Chair in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He received his PhD and MA from the University
of Toronto in sociology, and a BA in sociology from the University of
Calgary. His research interests focus on the relationship between information
and communication technologies, social networks, and the urban environment.
Recent projects include:
Social Interaction in Public Spaces: A Longitudinal Study -
This study utilizes an archive of Super 8 time-lapse films of public spaces from New York and around the world that were made in the 1970s through
the present day by William H. Whyte and the Project for Public Spaces. The content of these tapes is being compared qualitatively to digital video
of the same and comparable public spaces captured 2007-2010. The goal is to measure change in everyday public interactions over time and as result
of mobile phones and other societal changes.
Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community Survey -
A nationally representative telephone survey of 2,500 adults. This project examines the role of the Internet and mobile phone in how people interact with members of their social networks. Results from this national survey explore the role of new technology in social isolation, the size and diversity of core networks, participation in neighborhoods, voluntary groups, public spaces, and the diversity of people's social networks. Key findings challenge previous research and fears about the harmful social impact of new technology
Lost-letter Experiment - A variation on Stanley Milgram's lost-letter technique. In the summer of 2001 more than 5,000 stamped and self-addressed letters were "lost" in 80+ urban areas in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia. The proportion of returned (open/unopened) letters from each area is an indicator of helping behavior. In the summer of 2011 the project entered its second phase, letters were "lost" again in the same small urban areas. Variation will be explored over time (pre and post 9/11 / 2001-2011), country, urban area (using census data), and as a result of information and communication technologies.
The Social Life of Wireless Urban Spaces -
It is unclear if wireless Internet use in public spaces will facilitate greater engagement with co-present others, or encourage social disengagement. This study investigates how mobile
technologies, focusing on Wi-Fi use but not excluding mobile phones, video games, portable music devices, etc., impact the use of public space.
Updating William H. Whyte's classic study of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, this project is based on observations of
seven wireless Internet enabled public parks, plazas and markets in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto. The goal is to identify how mobile devices
augment local interactions and people's social networks more broadly.
A free, public resource at www.i-neighbors.org where people can find their geographic neighborhoods online
and form corresponding digital communities. The i-Neighbors project
investigates in detail the specific contexts where Internet use affords local
interactions and facilitates community involvement. i-Neighbors supports over 8,000 neighborhoods in the US and Canada and delivers over one million messages to neighbors each month.
A longitudinal study that examined whether the Internet is increasingly a part of everyday neighborhood interactions, and in what specific contexts Internet use affords the formation of local social ties. This study also explored the relationship between new media and the size and composition of people’s personal networks. The project was a longitudinal, quasi-experimental study. It involved administering an annual survey to the residents of four, Boston area neighborhoods over a period of three years. Three of the four neighborhoods were given access to a series of basic Internet services designed to facilitate local communication and information sharing; the fourth neighborhood served as a control group. The study provided longitudinal data on the role of Internet use in neighborhood social networks and controlled for the influence of an experimental, community-networking intervention.
Netville - The Netville project was a window into the not so distant
future, providing a glimpse of how social relationships will change as
a result of computer-mediated communication (CMC). An ethnographic and survey-based study, located in suburban
Toronto the "wired suburb" of Netville was a three-year investigation
of how living in a newly developed residential community, equipped with
a series of advanced computer and communication technologies as part of
its design, affects work, community and family relations.
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new paper on social media, democratic enagagement and the digital divide
I have published a new paper with colleagues from Virginia Tech: Samah Gad, Naren Ramakrishnam, and Andrea Kavanaugh. It was a particular pleasure to work on this paper, as it provided an opportunity to collaborate with some of the folks who I have long admired for their research on the Blacksburg Electronic Village, a community networking project that has a lot of similarities to my Netville, E-Neighbors and i-Neighbors projects. Our paper uses data from i-Neighbors.org to test hypotheses that I original developed in a paper that I published in Internet Use and the Concentration of Disadvantage: Glocalization and the Urban Underclass. In short, the argument is that there is something about social media that enables local social contact and collective action. Moreover, social media can enable social contact in geographic areas that are otherwise, because of digital and more traditional divides, unlikely to experience high levels of civic and civil engagement.
Here is the abstract:
The Internet offers opportunities for informal deliberation, and civic and civil engagement. However, social inequalities have traditionally meant that some communities, where there is a concentration of poverty, are both less likely to exhibit these democratic behaviors and less likely to benefit from any additional boost as a result of technology use. We argue that some new technologies afford opportunities for communication that bridge this divide. Using temporal topic modeling, we compare informal conversational activity that takes place online in communities of high and low poverty. Our analysis is based on data collected through i-Neighbors, a community website that provides neighborhood discussion forums. To test our hypotheses, we designed a novel time series segmentation algorithm that is driven by topic dynamics. We embed an LDA algorithm in a segmentation strategy and develop an approach to compare and contrast the resulting topic models underlying time series segments. We examine the adoption of i-Neighbors by poverty level, and apply our algorithm to six neighborhoods (three economically advantaged and three economically disadvantaged) and evaluate differences in conversations for statistical significance. Our findings suggest that social technologies may afford opportunities for democratic engagement in contexts that are otherwise less likely to support opportunities for deliberation and participatory democracy.
Want to read more, you can find a copy of the paper here:
Gad, Samah, Naren Ramakrishnam, Keith Hampton & Kavanaugh, Andrea (2012). Bridging the Divide in Democratic Engagement: Studying Conversation Patterns in Advantaged and Disadvantaged Communities. 2012 ASE/IEEE International Conference on Social Informatics, Washington D.C.
Wed Feb 13, 2013 @ 9:51:33 am
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