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Invited Speaker

Professor Dmitri Williams

Professor of Communication
University of Southern California, Annenberg

We know intuitively that people affect each other, but it’s hard to say how much. What if we knew? Imagine we could pinpoint exactly who caused other people to do things, and how much–whether that was shopping, going to the doctor, voting, consuming media, or any other action. What if we also knew how much this happened in general, and how it varied from context to context?

In this talk, I’ll explain a new method for measuring the effects of interactions over time, which we call “Social Value.” Most of the solutions for this age-old challenge have been based on social media, where we infer influence from follower counts or reposts, but which aren’t tied to outcomes. They haven’t been falsifiable. Social Value solves for this, and gets us beyond guesswork. Although we are in the early days of the research, it’s also opening up theorizing and practice around why and how people lead and follow. In this talk, I’ll discuss the general concept of Social Value, how we’ve tested and validated it, and what we’ve found, including connections to personality, race and social capital. I’ll also cover the method’s potential for network research and use in social science more broadly.

About the presenter:

Dmitri Williams (PhD, Michigan 2004) is a professor at USC Annenberg, where he teaches courses on technology and society, games and data analytics. His current work focuses on the study of influence among populations through the concept of “social value.” His ongoing work centers on the social and economic impacts of new media, often within online games. He works actively with companies and startups across the tech sectors. Williams was the first researcher to use online games for experiments and to undertake longitudinal research on video games, and now uses a wide variety of methods ranging from experiments, surveys, and machine learning to content analysis and the occasional ethnography.

About Our Webinar Series

This event is part of our regular webinar sessions for social capital researchers including PhD/master students. These sessions include invited presentations from prominent scholars as well as presentations by PhD students and experts in professional practice.

For social capital researchers, these sessions are an opportunity to hear about the latest social capital research and insights from scholars working on the concept. They can be a great way to connect with people, to get advice, discuss ideas or issues, get suggestions for literature to read, or you can just listen.

Are you researching social capital and want to present your research? Click here for more information and to submit a proposal.

Generally, presentations can be 20 to 30 mins. The content of your presentation will depend on your research stage.

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