The rise of digital interactions on social media platforms in recent years has had a significant impact on public discourse and the democratic process all over the world. In this talk, I will present our recent research that unpacks the relationship between online social media activity and its implications for civic dialogues. I will discuss the connection between online participation and offline conflicts, as well as the interplay between digital access and real-world inequalities. Additionally, I will introduce new visualization tools that facilitate discoveries in data-driven social science research. Together, these works open doors to a nuanced understanding of diverse populations and their varied digital engagements.
Yu-Ru Lin is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information and the Research Director of the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security (Pitt Cyber) at the University of Pittsburgh, where she directs the PITT Computational Social Dynamics Lab (PICSO LAB). Her research lies at the intersection of Computational Social Science, Data Mining, and Visualization. She specializes in using social network and text data along with statistical learning tools and social theories to study phenomena spanning societal events and policy, anomalous behaviors, and other crucially important complex patterns concerning collective attention and actions, as well as human and social dynamics in response to societal risks. Her work has appeared in prestigious scientific venues and has been featured in the press, including WSJ, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, MIT News, and NPR. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 refereed journal and conference papers and served on more than 50 conference program committees in the areas of big data, network science, and computational social science. She has served as a chair/co-chair of leading computational social science, web mining, and social media conferences such as AAAI ICWSM and TheWebConference/WWW (Web & Society Track). She currently serves as an Editor-in-Chief of AAAI ICWSM and an Associate Editor for multiple journals, including PLOS ONE, Springer EPJ Data Science, Nature’s Scientific Reports, and Frontiers in Big Data. She was selected as a Fellow of Kavli Frontiers of Science, National Academy of Sciences (NAS).