Ben Pettis

Research

My research interests have developed around the seemingly banal aspects of internet culture. While headlines about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, NSA surveillance, or major data breaches often receive significant attention, the seemingly less serious parts of the Internet can be equally important. Things such as online FCC indecency complaints, the debate over pornography on a once-popular SNS platform, or the spread of a new meme can provide avenues to pinpoint the Internet’s place in everyday life. In my work, I consider the quotidian components of online life, as well as how corporate interests intersect with these user practices. What types of groups, communities, and cultures exist in online spaces? How do users connect with one another? And what is the relationship between users and their platforms? By asking these types of questions, I aim to dispel myths of the “online world” as being somehow wholly separate and mystical, and instead situating it firmly within people’s actual lived experiences.

For a full picture of the projects that I have worked on, please take a look at my CV. Additionally, you can read about a handful of my projects in a bit greater detail: