Presidential Post-Doc Fellowship Job Talk: Nazanin Andalibi

Date: 
Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

Self-disclosure and Response Behaviors in Socially Stigmatized Contexts on Social Media

Abstract:
Social media platforms are often celebrated for their capacity to connect and provide a new context for self-disclosure and social interactions; yet expressing one’s identity, and seeking as well as providing social support on these platforms can be difficult when people experience distress. In some cases, crises involve stigma and can be prohibitively painful to share with even the closest of friends: the diagnosis of a malignant lump; abuse at the hands of a friend or family member; the loss of a pregnancy. Disclosures and responses to them (e.g., social support), are fundamentally communicative processes and I investigate both.

I use mixed methods and theorize social media behaviors such as sensitive disclosures and interactions around them, and provide design implications for social and communication technologies that foster human wellbeing. I concentrate on forms of human suffering that can be isolating and lead to emotional distress, such as sexual abuse, mental illness, and pregnancy loss – a pervasive reproductive health complication. In this talk, I discuss three major contributions of my research: (1) an examination of how people use visual and textual media (e.g., Instagram) to communicate about psychological vulnerabilities and how others respond, (2) a decision framework explaining stigmatized disclosures and support seeking on social media and a proof-of-concept mobile app prototype, and (3) a decision framework explaining support provision and why people respond or do not respond to sensitive disclosures on social media. I will end with future directions focused on social and communication technologies in service of a more empathetic and inclusive world, where vulnerable individuals are more empowered and their wellbeing is enhanced. NOTE: This talk includes content about mental illness and pregnancy loss.

Speaker Bio:

 Nazanin Andalibi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Information Studies at the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She has also worked as a Ph.D. research intern at Yahoo Research and holds an M.S. in Socio-technical Systems and a B.S. in Computer Science. Her research and teaching interests are in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Health Informatics, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), and Social Computing. Drawing on mixed methods and multiple disciplines, she addresses how we can design social computing systems that facilitate disclosures of difficult human experiences and enable supportive interactions to form around them. She investigates and theorizes social media behaviors such as sensitive disclosures and their responses, and provides design implications for social computing systems in service of a more empathetic and inclusive world where vulnerable individuals are more empowered and their wellbeing is enhanced.
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