April 24, 2012 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Harris School of Public Policy Studies
1155 East 60th St.
Eszter Hargittai, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University
Recent developments have made it increasingly possible for people to make available their creative output to a worldwide audience. No longer must one have large budgets to finance production and the necessary influence to get past gatekeepers when attempting to share one's opinion beyond one's immediate social circles. While eyeballs for viewership are not guaranteed, the prospect of reaching large audiences is more within the realm of possibilities than in earlier times. Does the availability of such opportunities lead to widespread participation? This presentation draws on unique longitudinal data about a diverse group of young adults' online activities to examine the prevalence of content creation and sharing in the digital age. To what extent are new opportunities being used and what may explain variation in participation among different people? Findings suggest that users' demographic and socioeconomic background, the context of their uses and their Internet skills are related to active online engagement. The talk will explore the implications of these findings.
Eszter Hargittai is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University where she heads the Web Use Project. She is also Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She received her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University. Her research focuses on the social and policy implications of digital media with a particular interest in how differences in people's Web-use skills influence what they do online. She is editor of Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have (University of Michigan Press 2009). Her work has received awards from several organizations and regularly receives coverage in the popular press.