[Dec 2011 Update: we are looking for more students for these projects for Fall 2012 -- apply before the January deadline to be considered for funding! This year, we are also looking for a student to join the collaborative project with Columbia, from the Columbia side: apply here].
Work on interesting projects with a fun group, live near New York City, and do a PhD on Social Media topics? It's now not too good to be true.
I am looking for two excellent students to join our social media research efforts and work towards a PhD as part of newly funded projects. Details of these projects are below, as well as details of the programs, and contact information. Feel free to forward to your students, friends, and colleagues, or just tweet about it: http://bit.ly/smphd. Also feel free to contact me directly (and as soon as possible) if interested. Do it now: the deadline for applications is in January!
Description of Projects
The first project is an NSF-funded project to examine temporal, social, and geographic patterns in large-scale social awareness streams (like, say, Twitter and Facebook). The data in these systems reflects people's activities, interests, and attention, in thousands of localities worldwide and may allow us to reason about communities, cultures and language in a way never before available. The PhD student will help lead and guide this effort, including building new systems and developing data mining approaches. For an example of (much older) related work from me, see the World Explorer demo or read about it here (pdf).
The second project is another NSF-funded project (in collaboration with my postdoc Nick Diakopoulos and Luis Gravano at Columbia University) on "Detection and Presentation of Community and Global Event Content from Social Media Sources". The PhD student will help lead and guide this effort, specifically focusing on presentation of social media content from events. See, for example, this paper, and this one (and the system its based on) for some earlier work from me on related topics.
Full funding is available for selected students.
What Do You Need?
Both projects might require technical students with expertise in (or interest and willingness to learn) human computer interaction, information visualization, design, algorithms, and so forth. Candidates with Masters or bachelor degrees in information science, computer science and related fields are welcome to apply. I especially encourage fantastic students from populations underrepresented in the CS/IS fields. Non-US candidates are also welcome to join our already-quite-international team (bonus points if you are from a continent not yet represented!).
As mentioned above, you are welcome contact me directly, but you will need to submit an application to the graduate school (see below); the school makes admission decisions, not me. To apply, you will probably need recommendation letters, and to take the GRE.
About Social Media Research at Rutgers SC&I:
Prepare to be social! You will be joining a team of faculty, postdoc, phd, masters and undergraduates students working on social media research at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. Our Social Media Information Lab (SMIL) research touches on understanding human activities in social media, at both micro (individuals) and macro (communities and society) level; and on creating new experience for social media content, amongst other topics. We use approaches from many different disciplines, and in particular: qualitative and quantitative studies; systems and HCI research; and data mining (group Website is coming soon, but in the meantime you can check out my own page). Our work is currently funded by Nokia, Google, and the National Science Foundation.
Beyond the group, Rutgers SC&I offers a true interdisciplinary environment that brings together information science, social science, computer science, media studies, and other academic disciplines.
Notice that you can choose to apply and get your PhD in the Computer Science Department or in the interdisciplinary School of Communication and Information PhD program. You will need to apply separately to the CS and SC&I programs (you can do both if you don't want to decide now). At CS, the focus of the program and course work is on the technical aspects of computing, of course. As SC&I, the courses strongly consider the human aspects of technology, and cover background and methodology from information science, social science, media studies and related fields.
Oh, and you can live in (or near) New York City and all its excitement and energy.
More Details and Contact
Most of the application process will be done via the Rutgers Graduate Admissions, in January. You'll have to go through the normal admissions process. But, if you are applying, do send me an email to introduce yourself as soon as possible! If you are currently a doctoral student at Rutgers, simply drop me a line if interested.
To contact me, find my email on the Web!
p.s. Our graduate program is nothing like this.