Kieran Healy. Sociology in the age of social media

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

2:00-3:30pm, ​Monday, September 28 in Barrows 402

Sociology in the age of social media

The World Wide Web is about four graduate student completion cycles old; blogging as a self-conscious activity is about three cycles old; widespread Facebook and Twitter use, about one and a half cycles old. What sort of public face has Sociology had during each of these phases of social media use? And where is it going to go in the future? I informally review developments and find that while Sociologists have been relatively late to each party, there are good reasons for optimism. I argue that Sociologists generally (a) overestimate the need for complexity in public interventions, as well as the public’s tolerance for High Seriousness, and (b) underestimate the strong public demand for what might seem—from a “professional” point of view—quite straightforward social-scientific concepts, data, or knowledge generally.

Kieran Healyteaches Sociology at Duke University, where he is also affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Duke Network Analysis Center, and the Markets and Management Program. He once wrote a blog post on the bus home that ended up being read by about half a millionpeople.