Professor John Liechty, Smeal College of Business, USA
Much of current sociology and public health research focuses on understanding and mitigating the disease of despair—a precursor and companion to poverty. One clearly identified, yet understudied, contributor is increased loneliness and isolation driven by social media and other online dynamics. Measuring both despair as well as capturing behavioural data of online activity offers an opportunity to better understand how platforms’ marketing activities, as well as user’s interaction with platforms and other users can impact users’ emotional wellbeing (including despair and poverty). In this talk I discuss nascent efforts to establish a research program to gather and analyse a unique set of data and then publish insights about social media’s impact.