Have we created a brave new world, or a monster?

The Internet has created opportunities and perils. We have mountains of data, but few individuals can tackle the mountains with anything better than a sand shovel. These reams of data are enticing for social scientists such as myself—with whole chat rooms of strangers to interview, millions of comment threads to assess, we have seemingly unlimited new avenues to explore in our attempts to engage and understand the social world. On the other hand, we also have the ability to ignore digital life completely, or conversely, be shut out of it due to real-world limitations we humans have yet to overcome: poverty, lack of resources, paywalls, and some of the slowest Internet speeds in the developed world.

Here, I’ll be offering thoughts and reflections on such dualities—agency and structure, choice and blocked opportunities, being welcomed in through the front door and being asked to go around back. Sometimes I will focus on the research I do (educational pathways and intersectional inequalities, mostly) and sometimes on other topics (such as a seminar I’m taking on new media). Welcome! I will try not to be boring.

Have we created a brave new world, or a monster?