Written by Cid Decatur, Research Assistant in Cornell’s Social Media Lab and Communication Major

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Image Source: Pixabay

Your use of social media makes other people money. There is a reason users can go to their app store of choice and install numerous content-sharing platforms on their mobile phones. The current model that many media-marketing firms hold themselves to is not to sell content, but to sell parsed-out viewership to advertisers. The most well-known examples of this method of marketing can be found on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. When users flip through TikTok, the increasingly popular short-video social media platform from Byte, they don’t…


Written by Parker Murphy, Research Assistant in Cornell’s Social Media Lab and Information Science Major

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Image Source: Thomas Park via Unsplash

93% of homes in the United States with school-aged children have reported some form of distance learning due to COVID-19. It’s no doubt that children are getting more screen time than they did before the pandemic. Not all of this screen time is bad — schools have creatively transformed their curriculums to meet the needs of a distanced-learning school year. However, increased screen time inevitably means children have greater exposure to targeted advertisements shown in web browsers, videos, and games online. …


Written by Suzanne Lee, Research Assistant in Cornell’s Social Media Lab & Information Science MPS Class of 2020

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Photo by Amin Moshrefi on Unsplash

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly spreading respiratory virus that originated from Wuhan, Mainland China in late 2019. Since the virus was not well contained in its early developments, it escalated into the current global pandemic by quickly spreading through person-to-person interactions. It has also caused non-essential businesses to lose revenue, schools to move their teachings online, and people to practice social distancing. …


By Kelly Stone, SML Honors Research Assistant

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Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

How do young people engage with social media these days? As a parent, educator, or other adult figure in young people’s lives, it’s hard to keep track of what children can be doing on the Internet. Technology has evolved over the past few decades so that an increasing number of people, particularly those in younger generations, have access to the Internet and various social media sites. In fact, although the legal age limit to sign up for social media sites is 13, many children end up exposed to these sites even before they are teenagers.

This creates the need for…


Written by Natalie Bazarova

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Source: ‘Luke Porter/Unsplash Photo Community’

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned people’s lives upside-down, with profound economic, social, family, work, and school shifts and disruptions. One such disruption is social distancing, which imposes restrictions on social gatherings and in-person contact in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But how do you stay socially connected despite social distancing? How do you minimize social isolation and loneliness when you have to hunker down and physically distance yourself from others?

There is a solution, and it lies at our fingertips. It’s offered through social media, which can give people a sense of…


Written by Carmen Chan

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Most of us have used social media one way or another to form different kinds of relationships. And one special kind is those formed in online social support communities. On those sites, users tend to share difficult, and sometimes, traumatic experiences. A host of research has found that online friends can be an important source of social support, which may help manage stress and improve well-being. But we do not know enough about what factors are influencing people’s decisions when they encounter posts soliciting help. And one interesting case is the influence of existential threats.

Existential…


A new way for youth to learn digital citizenship and digital literacy skills.

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that teenagers are highly engaged with social media. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 95% of teens in the U. S. report having access to a smartphone and 45% say they are online almost constantly. But how do we prepare teens to become prosocial, productive members of the digital world before they enter it?

Back in 2018, we posted about the importance of social media education for youth and a new tool called Social Media TestDrive. Since then, our team of researchers at Cornell University’s Social Media Lab has been collaborating with…


Predicting Your Next Binge-Watch Before it Exists

By Kelly Stone, SML Research Assistant

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Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

It’s an urban legend at this point that everything you do online matters. That’s why so many technology articles you’ll come across online are so focused on big data, which companies can collect to understand more about you as an individual and your interests. Most proficient internet users have an ambiguous idea that their data is being sold to advertisers. Yet, a lot of us don’t think about the way that the media content we consume for entertainment can also be affected by these clicks and scrolls.

Whether you’re a passionate fan or casual viewer, so much of the general…


Car lovers are a study in turning online friends into offline ones. Post by Rashaad Ahmad, SML Research Assistant

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Photo by Rashaad Ahmad — His own 1960 Corvair!

Do you turn your online friends to offline ones? One criticism of social media is that interactions mostly happen online, but the automotive community is a perfect example of why that isn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, we can look at the automotive community as a lens for exploring social media subcultures and relationships in a more general way that applies to everyone. Youtube, Facebook and Instagram have replaced traditional sources of automotive culture. It is now simpler than ever to snap a picture of your ride and throw it up for the world to see.

How do people get into automotive culture in the first place?

Traditionally…


By Brianna De Jesus-Banos, SML Research Assistant

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How social media has become a money-making platform for micro-celebrities in our digital age.

Growing up, one of the biggest questions adults love to ask children is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Most often responses vary along the lines of police officer, doctor, or teacher, which doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Throw ‘Social media influencer’ into the mix and you might get mixed reactions, raised eyebrows and shaking heads, but believe it or not social media has become a job now. Not a part time one, a full-time paid position and all you have to do is build a personal brand.

Social media influencers have become micro-celebrities, creating…

Cornell Social Media Lab

The members of the Social Media Lab at Cornell University study the way people live, behave, think, share, and love online.

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