Upcoming lecture to address online experiences of marginalized individuals

September 10, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A researcher who studies communication, relationships, technology and more will focus on how the internet has helped and hindered marginalized audiences during a free public lecture Sept. 23 on the University Park campus.

Jesse Fox, an associate professor at Ohio State University, will present “Online Experiences of Marginalized Individuals” at 5:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium of Pattee Library. Her presentation, the Robert M. Pockrass Memorial Lecture, is free and open to the public.

When it first permeated homes, the internet was touted as the great liberator, said Fox. Online, hierarchies would be flattened and stereotypes squelched. Everyone would have a voice, and everyone would be treated equally. Social media represented an important step, lowering the barriers for people to create and share content with others.

Today, Fox said, it is clear that the internet is neither a utopia nor an equitable agora. Social media have provided millions of individuals unprecedented access to communicating with others through both private and public platforms. Novel and fulfilling ways of self-expression have emerged. Still, there have also been considerable downsides, particularly for marginalized individuals: Stereotyping, discrimination, and harassment persist, and in some cases are exacerbated, through social media.

In the talk, Fox will cover various issues and findings regarding the experiences of marginalized individuals online as well as marginalizing experiences online, as these do not necessarily align. Who feels marginalized, and why does that matter? The talk will explore why social media yield diametric experiences for many, reflecting both the most virtuous and the most vile aspects of humanity.

Fox is an associate professor in the School of Communication at Ohio State and director of the Virtual Environment, Communication Technology, and Online Research (VECTOR) Lab. Her research interests include technologically-mediated communication in relationships; experiences of women and LGBTQ+ individuals online; affordances of communication technologies; and persuasive virtual environments, particularly in the contexts of health and environmental communication.

Her work has appeared in many journals, including Journal of Communication, Communication Research, New Media & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Media Psychology. Her publications, research resources and more are available online at http://commfox.org. She earned her doctorate at Stanford University and her master’s degree from the University of Arizona.

Last Updated September 10, 2019