Pockrass Lecture examines impact of Internet skill differences

A leading media scholar will present her research examining the consequences of individual Internet skill differences during a free public lecture at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, in Foster Auditorium of Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State.


Eszter Hargittai, the Delaney Family Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Northwestern University, will present the fall Robert M. Pockrass Memorial Lecture, titled “The World Wise Web? The Role of Skills in How People Use the Internet.” The lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Communications and University Libraries.


Drawing on longitudinal survey data, the talk will consider the role of Internet skills in people’s online engagement spanning a variety of domains. Results suggest that people’s background characteristics as well as their Internet skills have long-term consequences for who does what online, with the potential for considerable variation in who can benefit from their Web uses.


Hargittai’s research looks at how people may benefit from their digital media uses with a particular focus on how differences in people’s Web-use skills influence what they do online. She has looked at these questions in the domains of information seeking, health content, political participation, job search and the sharing of creative content. She has also explored the relationship of people’s Internet skills and their online privacy management.


Her work has received awards from several professional associations, including the International Communication Association’s Outstanding Young Scholar Award. She has published close to 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and close to 20 book chapters. Hargittai is editor of “Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have” (University of Michigan Press 2009), which presents a rare behind-the-scenes look at doing empirical social science research. She is currently working on a book on managing your online reputation.


Hargittai writes an academic career advice column at Inside Higher Ed called Ph.Do. She can be found @eszter on Twitter.


The Pockrass Lecture was named after the late Professor Robert M. Pockrass, a member of Penn State’s journalism faculty from 1948 to 1977. Pockrass, who specialized in public opinion and popular culture, served as the graduate officer and taught radio news writing.

Last Updated January 09, 2015