My research focuses on the use of social technologies for relationship maintenance. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to study and design social technologies. View my full list of publications on my CV or Google Scholar Profile.

Current Projects

Video Co-Watching
Leo Ascenzi '20, Yingsi Qin '20, & Ryan Wetsman '19

Remote Video Watching

User-centered design and development of a web application for people to watch videos with friends and family members when they are physically distant from one another. Watching videos is one way that people spend time together and maintain interpersonal relationships. However, this is difficult to do when we are not physically distant from one another. The goal of this project is to allow people to maintain relationships through social video watching when they are not co-located, much the way they do when they are together. This project is supported by Colgate University through Summer Student Research Fellowships and a Faculty Research Council Student Wage Grant.

Concussion Management App
Yasoob Khalid '21, Bria Vicenti '17 (Honors Thesis)

Concussion Symptom Tracking

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury associated with a wide range of physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep-related symptoms. Due to the current unavailability of technology to objectively track most indicators of concussion, the management and treatment of these symptoms primarily depends on a concussion sufferer’s self-reported symptom severity. Particularly in the student athlete population, incomplete knowledge of concussions and negative attitudes about reporting concussions deter athletes from self-reporting both concussive events and their accompanying symptoms. Through a four-stage User Centered Design strategy I developed a simple concussion education and symptom tracking tool to address the two areas of weakness in concussion management described above and ultimately, to be used as a supplement for the Colgate club sports concussion management protocol.

Supporting Freshmen
Jeremy Birnholtz (Dissertation Advisor)


The adjustment college and living away from home for the first time can be challenging for many students. I am currently collecting data for my dissertation study on family communication during adjustment to college. I am also analyzing interview data exploring how students use technology to receive support from distant family members while adjusting to college.

Past Projects

Face Threats on Facebook
Eden Litt, Erin Spottswood, & Jeremy Birnholtz


Impressions on social networking sites are informed not just by the content we post ourselves, but also by what our friends post about us. Content posted by others can be face threatening when it does not align with one’s desired self-presentations. We conducted a survey to investigate how people manage face-threatening Facebook posts. Eden Litt presented our CSCW ‘14 paper in Baltimore.

Facebook Confessions
Jeremy Birnholtz & Nick Merola

Facebook Confessions

Recently popular, Facebook Confession pages present an interesting juxtaposition of anonymous and identified communication. College students anonymously submit confessions that are viewed and respond to by named Facebook members. This anonymous space within an offline community provides a unique space for students to seek support from an extended network of peers.

Adolescent Group Messaging
John Tang

Group Messaging

Group messaging has become popular, particularly among adolescents, but had not previously been explored in the HCI literature. We interviewed 48 adolescents, aged 15-24, who use group messaging regularly. We developed a framework for understanding the types of groups they communicate with according to three dimensions: focus, membership, and duration. We also explored the problem of notification overload and users’ strategies for managing frequent notifications.

Facebook Limiting & Leaving
Eric Baumer & Others

Facebook Break-Up

Although there is an abundance of research about users of social networking sites, relatively little is known about those who choose not to use these sites. We conducted a survey focusing on Facebook and users who have chosen not to use, to limit their use of, or to leave the site. Victoria Sosik and I presented our paper at CHI 2013 in Paris last May. Media coverage included: Science NewsLine and Social Times

Megan Halpern

Frontstage Mobile App

Frontstage is an iOS audience participation system designed to be used in a wide variety of contexts. We were interested in how users appropriate and interpret the device, and, by extension, their relationship to the presenter and the audience. I worked on user testing and evaluation of the initial iPod app.

Digital Deception
Jeff Hancock, Claire Cardie, Myle Ott, & others

Review Skeptic

Many people rely on online reviews from other customers when making purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, these reviews are sometimes deceptive, such as those written by someone hired to write a positive reviews of a product he has never used. This project uses language models to identify fake reviews. Learn more and try it out at

Going to College
Mary Nguyen, Charles Lai, Gilly Leshed, & Eric Baumer


This project first got me interested in studying the transition to college. We interviewed college freshmen about their use of technology to communicate with their parents. Our CSCW ‘12 paper discussed the variety of tools these students described using to connect with their parents as well as the role of these communication tools in mediating students’ closeness with, and independence from, their parents.

Butler Lies
Jeremy Birnholtz, Jeff Hancock, Lindsay Reynolds


Butler lies are a type of deception commonly used to manage (un)availability for interaction with others while maintaining social relationships. Named in reference to the historic role butlers played in managing their masters’ availability. We are styudying how butler lies are told using social media today. This work is funded by the NSF and has been featured in the NY Times.

Tots on Bots
Sharon Stansfield, Carole Dennis, & Helene Larin

Tots on Bots

This project aims to develop a robotic mobility device to be used by children with physical disabilities, who are too young to operate wheel chairs. In our system, the child sits on a Nintendo Wii Fit and “drives” the robot by leaning. I presented a paper at RESNA 2010. My video was shown at at HRI 2011 and a Robot Film Festival. Media coverage includes Popular Science, Engadget, Gizmodo, and others.

Therapeutic Virtual Reality
Andrada Voinitchi & Sharon Stansfield

VR Game

The goal of this research was to develop a virtual reality game to be used by children with Cerebral Palsy and complement their regular occupational therapy exercises. Our project was funded by a CREU grant from the CRA-W. Our final report is available online and we presented a poster at the Ithaca College James J. Whalen Academic Symposium in 2009.