Online Shaming

Why do so many of us “shame” those with whom we disagree? This is a common behavior online, which can become even more pernicious in times of crisis, as in the global coronavirus pandemic. See more in this article by Amanda Hoover for, to which I contributed.

Why we’re shaming NJ residents who don’t social distance.

In newly published research, Vivek Singh and I find bias and stereotyping to be prevalent in online images

Vivek and me - 2020 photo

Rutgers School of Communications and Information, Wednesday, February 5, 2020, in New Brunswick, N.J. (Photo/Mel Evans)

In research published in JASIST, The Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, my colleague at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information Vivek Singh, our students Raj Imandar and Diana Floegel, and I have found occupational gender bias to be prevalent in images on several mediated platforms. Our work has implications for the design of platforms and algorithms and for gender equity and fairness, and has received considerable international attention. It will be highlighted in the third edition of Superconnected, slated to be published in Fall 2020.

Here is a story about the research in Rutgers Today:

Here are several links to media stories about the research:

Telengana Today. Online images reinforce gender stereotypes.

ET&T Magazine. Online images reinforce engineering stereotypes. Occupational gender bias prevalent in online images, study finds. Images Reinforce Gender Biases Around Professions, Study Says.

Business Standard. Occupational gender bias prevalent in social media images: study.

…and here is the link to the actual article on JASIST.


Third Edition of Superconnected To Be Published in 2020

Change is a constant in the digital world, and the pace of change in technology-rich societies continues to accelerate. To address the many changes in our techno-social lives, SAGE Publications will publish a fully revised third edition of Superconnected in 2020, with plenty of new multidisciplinary, global content.

To date, the second edition of Superconnected has been adopted by over 25 courses worldwide, at institutions that range from Stanford University to Penn State to Aalborg University in Denmark, in such departments as Communication, Sociology, Psychology, Geography, English, Media Studies, Information Science, and Human Resource Management. It has been translated into three languages thus far, Korean, Turkish, and Serbian. Here’s a story on my September 2019 trip to Belgrade, Serbia to launch the translation (called Superpovezani in Serbian) with a series of talks and appearances:


Free review copies available at SAGE website

It’s very easy to request a free review copy of the second edition of Superconnected for prospective classroom use! Just go to

…and click on “Request Review Copy.”

In addition to the many free classroom materials and resources found on this site, please also know that I would be happy to Skype with any class that adopts the book, visit in person if arrangements can be made, or do a Twitter chat — whether live or asynchronously. I’m always happy to interact with students reading the book! Contact me at to set it up!

Finally, please feel free to share with me your students’ responses to the book, whether as part of formal class activities or their informal reviews. Responses to the first edition were extremely helpful to me when it came time to revise the first edition, and responses to the second edition will help me revise that one, as the third edition is now under contract. Any and all feedback would be gratefully received at the above email address. Thank you, and thank you for your interest in Superconnected!




Book launch: Eastern Sociological Society Conference Feb. 22-25, 2018

Superconnected‘s second edition was officially “launched” at the 2018 Eastern Sociological Society conference in Baltimore, MD. I signed books, met up with mentor/friend Karen Cerulo and grad school buddy Wayne Brekhus at the signing, and discussed some of the book’s ideas on a panel on digital sociology.

Course adoptions are already starting for Fall ’18! Check out the customizable lecture slides and questions for discussion (brand new for this second edition) on their “pages,” above. Contact me at for more info or to arrange a Skype or in-person visit to your class — or, a Twitter chat (fun, and instructive about digital society in both form and content!)

Second edition of Superconnected has arrived!

I’m very pleased to announce the publication of the fully revised and updated second edition of Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media and Techno-Social Life.

This new revised edition features:

  • Current events, the latest statistics and new research findings
  • Brand new sections on the rise of “fake” news and information, the human-machine relationship, and the history and implications of the “dark web” and the “deep web”
  • Customizable lecture slides and discussion questions for each chapter available on this blog

This edition also pairs nicely with the short podcasts I wrote, voiced, and produced for each chapter, available on this blog.

Enjoy this new, updated version of Superconnected, and, as always, please feel to share your feedback with me at

Second Edition of Superconnected!

I’m excited to announce that I’m working on a second edition of Superconnected! It will contain new sections on accuracy, misinformation and “fake news”; the “dark web” and the “deep web”‘ and the machine-human connection. I’m also updating all data and statistics and including dozens of new research findings and examples.

I’ll also be adding lots of new content on this blog in conjunction with the second edition, including lecture slides and discussion questions for each chapter.

If you have a suggestion for a new or revised topic that should be included in the second edition, I’d love to hear from you at!

The new second edition of Superconnected should be out in early 2018, in time for course adoption in Fall 2018. I’m also getting great feedback from general, non-scholarly audiences.

Till then, feel free to grab the first edition!

Chapter 10 and Podcast 10 from Superconnected

This chapter looks at the future — or, more accurately, the possible future — of living in a world in which digital connectedness is so prevalent.



The rise and proliferation of the internet, digital media, and ICTs represent the potential for individuals to live richer lives, but also those that are more closely scrutinized and surveilled. As we have seen, the harnessing of collective knowledge and superconnectedness yields infinite possibilities, but the outcomes are unclear, unsure. There are infinite possibilities, which can be daunting and overwhelming or exciting and freeing.

Upcoming generations of digital connectors will likely find digitality in and of itself to be neither daunting nor confusing. Children and young adults growing up in a technology-rich environment have several advantages: comfort and practice in interacting and building social worlds online; agility in moving among online and offline spheres; considering as default that which occurs in digital spaces to be very much “real.” They tend not to have a problem seeing the online and offline as enmeshed. Soon, children in tech-rich communities and societies will have always known a world in which it was so. When that time arrives, what will be lost? What will be gained?

Individuals will always be challenged to create cohesive identities and communities and to understand the workings of both. In the modern technological world, people are, and will remain, superconnected. The thoughtful, strategic, shrewd use of the internet and digital technology can help people better manage their techno-social lives and create a future filled with rich, diverse experiences.  To do this, they – we — must become and remain educated and literate about techno-social life.

The internet and digital media provide countless opportunities for involvement in the process of making and shaping and critiquing and improving technology, the world around us, and our own lives. Passive consumption of technology and of changes that have been decreed by others inevitably leads to feelings of weakness and hopelessness. Individuals need to feel some control over their lives, and democracies require that people have a voice and control. If we outsource technological expertise and decision-making to others, we give them control over all the aspects of techno-social life discussed in this book. We give others control over our lives.

So I invite you again, as I did when we began our exploration of techno-social life in Chapter 1, to take its lessons and explore those issues most relevant to your life and to those whom you care about. Network. Speak. Create. Remix. Act. Use the technologies at your disposal, and those to come — including those that you, yourself, make — to shape the kind of world you want to live in. Connect with others who believe as you do. Use the internet, digital media, and face-to-face gatherings, in combination, to build and sustain those connections. With curiosity, creativity, and a critical mind  – all of which I hope this book has helped you to develop — there are almost no limits to the journey you can take and the difference you can make in your own, superconnected, techno-social life.