Internet studies tends to conceptualize groups as collectivities anchored by shared ideas, interests, and information. Sociologists understand groups as also anchored by identity, social location, and power relationships. It's a tension between groups of affiliation versus ascription. The difference is meaningful for how we understand inequality across digital domains. How can we theoretically and methodologically understand both concepts of group in social media generally and specifically in a case study of informal learning spaces on Facebook and Twitter?
Tressie McMillan Cottom is completing her PhD in the Sociology Department at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
As a stratification scholar, Tressie considers what inequality means both experientially and empirically when corporations are people, supranational corporations like Facebook and Twitter shape the public square, and education is increasingly privatized. Her research primarily mines organizational arrangements and structural processes to better understand inequality across rapidly changing social domains. Her current work examines for-profit college credentials and inequality. She also has a developing research agenda that examines the political economy of emerging “new” media organizations.