Blog

2024

SICSS-Singapore is back!

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I am super excited that SICSS is returning to Singapore in 2024 for its THIRD edition! SICSS (Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science) is a global initiative to bring together graduate students, postdocs and early career faculty members for intensive study and interdisciplinary research in computational social science. Read more

Appearance on the CCS Podcast

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I was recently invited by Prof. Emese Domahidi (TU Ilmenau) to appear on the What is it about computational communication science podcast to talk about the power of platforms. We (Emese, Mario Haim, and myself) talked about the increasingly pervasive role that digital platforms play in mediating our access to information and news, the importance of social media metrics, audience fragmentation, and the need for a global perspective in answering these questions. It was a fun 45 minute conversation, but in the end we were left with more questions than answers. Read more

ICA Pre-Conference on Journalism and Computation in Singapore!

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I am super excited to announce that my colleagues and I are organising an ICA preconference titled “A Computational Turn in Journalism: Opportunities and Challenges in a Cross-Dsiciplinary Field” in Singapore! We welcome submissions from those who are conducting research at the intersection of computational methods and journalism. Read the full CFP here and submit your abstracts by January 26! Read more

From Fort Canning to the Ledikeni

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Fort Canning is perhaps one of Singapore’s best known landmarks. A verdant hill in Central Singapore steeped in centuries of history, it served as seat of Malay royalty in the medieval ages, was the site of the signing of the Singapore Treaty in the 1819, and the setting of what was, according to Churchill, the most ignominious surrender in the history of the British empire, in 1942. Read more

2023

Invited Seminar at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

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I was invited by A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), Singapore’s foremost public sector research agency, to present my research at their Social Science & Technology Seminar Series. In my talk, titled “Informational Disparities in the Landscape of News Consumption and Production on Digital Platforms,” I knit together several recently concluded research projects to discuss the evolving dynamics between digital media and their audiences, and their implications for the future. Read more

Invited Lecture on AI and Society at IIM-B

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I was invited by the Mizuho India Japan Study Centre (MIJSC) at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore to discuss “How Might AI Reshape Society? Global Case Studies including Indian & Japanese Experiences” along with Prof. Kentaro Toyama. The format was that of an online webinar and it was part of the Centre’s Meijin-Samvad (Expert-Conservation) series. The session was moderated by Mr. Saideep Rathnam, COO of MIJSC. Read more

Appearance on the CNM Podcast

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I was recently invited to appear on the CNM podcast (part of NUS’ FASSTalk) to talk about ChatGPT. We (Jonathan Sim, NUS Philosophy and myself) talked about what ChatGPT is, its role as a potential “classmate” for students, and how it can enhance academic research and effect change in education. We finally wrapped up the conversation with its sociopolitical implications as well as its impact on human capabilities. A special tip of the hat to my colleague Rosemary Overell for being a wonderful host and steering the conversation adeptly with incisive questions. Read more

SICSS-Singapore is back!

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I am super excited that SICSS is returning to Singapore in 2023 for its second edition! SICSS (Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science) is a global initiative to bring together graduate students, postdocs and early career faculty members for intensive study and interdisciplinary research in computational social science. Read more

2022

Publication in Cyberpyschology, Behaviour, and Social Networking

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We have a new paper in Cyberpyschology, Behaviour, and Social Networking where we investigate the dynamics of audience engagement with public Facebook posts regarding COVID-19. Specifically, we look at the sentiment encoded in the posts, and the (sub)topic that the post is about, and how these may have influenced engagement levels during the roll out of the first dose of the vaccine in the United States. Read more

SICSS-Singapore 2022 Post-Mortem Report

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In January, I had announced that I am co-organizing the first edition of SICSS (Summer Institute in Computational Social Science) - Singapore. I am glad to report that the event was, by all measures, a success. This is the post-mortem report of the event, drafted by myself and my co-organizer and colleague, Prof. Renwen Zhang. Read more

Publication in The International Journal of Press/Politics

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Last week, the theory chapter from my Ph.D. dissertation was published by The International Journal of Press/Politics. In this paper, I introduce a conceptual framework called “News Reading Publics” which I argue, helps us understand the audience fragmentation of national news reading populations outside western contexts. Read more

Announcing SICSS-Singapore

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I am excited to co-organize the inaugural edition of SICSS-Singapore! SICSS (Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science) is a global initiative to bring together graduate students, postdocs and early career faculty members for intensive study and interdisciplinary research in computational social science for a two week period, and SICSS-Singapore will be the first SICSS partner location in the ASEAN region. Read more

2021

A year (and a bit more) in books

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2021 was a tough year, generally speaking. So I have a lot to be grateful about to my public library memberships that gave me access to a wealth of books in electronic and audio formats over the past thirteen odd months. Here is a list of the (strictly non-academic) books that I read (including three that I re-read), in no-particular order, that eased me into pockets of positivity when the rest of the world felt like Dante’s ninth circle of hell. In parenthesis, is my one word recommendation (skip or read) for each. Read more

Publication in Social Networks

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Last month, I (along with my co-authors, Tian Yang, Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, and Georg Stadler) had a paper accepted at Social Networks - which was in the works since 2018! Read more

Publication in Scientific Reports

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Excited to have my first solo authored peer-reviewed journal article published today in Scientific Reports! This is a methodological paper that formalizes as well as extends some of the more technical network science approaches that I used for my dissertation research, and lays down recommendations for those seeking to analyse audience co-exposure networks. Read more

A Note about Epistemologies

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One of the most interesting ways in which the fundamental difference between Western and Indian epistemologies manifests itself lies in the word philosophy and its Sanskrit equivalent दर्शन (darshan). The English word philosophy is derived from the Greek philosophia, which translates to “love of wisdom”. Philosophy, correspondingly, is defined according to the Oxford Dictionary as “the study of the nature and meaning of the universe and of human life”. Note that the definition describes the end goal, while remaining silent on how it is to be achieved. The Sanskrit word darshan on the other hand, derived from the root drish (“to see”), literally translates to “vision”. This is because the ancient Indian way of knowing fundamental truths about the world, prioritized one methodology over all others – that of “seeing”, or at the very least, feeling, experiencing, or “intuiting” the truth. Read more

Invited lecture at SICSS-Beijing

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I was recently invited to deliver a (virtual) guest lecture for SICSS-Beijing where I spoke about using agent-based models and network science in conjunction to understand selective exposure. I’m a big fan of SICSS, having been an alum of its Chicago chapter in 2019, and so had no hesitation in accepting the invite! Read more

Gene-culture evolution and the Secret of our Success

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I recently read a fascinating book on the story of human evolution called ‘‘The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter’’ written by Joseph Henrich, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University. Notwithstanding the tedious title, it altered how I fundamentally think about human beings as a biological species. In this post, I would like to record a couple of things that particularly caught my attention, and made me update my priors. Read more

2020

Chicago: An Incomplete Ode

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One block away from our apartment on W Polk Street in Chicago was Jarabe, arguably the - indulge me for a moment - greatest Mexican street food place in the world. When they first opened shop back in 2016, my taste in Mexican food was limited to the few places in and around University City in West Philadelphia. Ugly Delicious hadn’t begun streaming on Netflix, so South Philly Barbacoa was still unknown to me. Read more

Byline in the Washington Post!

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I wrote an article for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog with my collaborators, Profs. Kokil Jaida and Yphtach Lelkes. In this piece, we discussed some of our findings on the political biases on American Twitter, in light of recent spats between Trump and the social media company. Read more

Publication in Political Communication

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Back in the Spring of 2018, when my friend Tian Yang and I pitched a proposal for the final paper for a research methods class, little did we expect anything to happen out of it. We really had no reason to. Back then, both Tian and I did purely observational research - which is really just a fancy word for analyzing data. However, we shared a mutual interest in running behavioral experiments. So what began on a cursory whim more than two years ago, finally saw the light of day last month when it was published in the Political Communication journal. Read more

A (somewhat) pensive note about my PhD journey

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Back in 2015, when Nilanjana and I embarked on our respective graduate school journeys, little did we anticipate things to turn out the way they did: halfway through this journey, we were married; six months later, I had left Philadelphia and moved to Chicago; another two years down, with an unprecedented pandemic raging around the world and with the US living through an extraordinary political moment, we had defended our PhD dissertations within a week of each other. Read more

PhD Acknowledgments

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I defended my PhD dissertation today! Because a PhD is so much more than an individual effort, this is what I wrote in the acknowledgements section of my dissertation: Read more