I’m an assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. My research examines the social impacts of communication technologies, specifically on the relationship between users’ network composition, impression management strategies, and privacy through the lens of context collapse. My current research works to bridge these concepts by focusing on user behaviors within social network sites, as they have become a ubiquitous source of daily interaction and relationship maintenance for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Through my work, I hope to expand our understanding of how technologies like Facebook extend our ability to communicate with and–in some cases–enhance our relationships with other members of our social network while identifying and mitigating the various tensions these sites’ technical structures create. This research has important implications for both information and communication theory as well as for HCI design.
At Maryland, I am a affiliate faculty member of the HCI Lab (HCIL) and a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI). I am also working with The Lilead Project to help them build a robust online network for school library supervisors from around the country to have a place to interact and share resources about their work.
If you are a student interested in applying to Maryland’s iSchool for your PhD studies and are interested in working with me, or if you are a journalist researching an article and would like to speak with me, the best way to reach me is through email at jvitak[at]umd.edu. I’m especially happy to speak to the press about social media issues related to relationship/friendship practices, managing your identity online, and privacy.
Where else to find me online: