Assistant Professor

Social technologies and identity transitions / life transitions / life events

Each person faces many transitions throughout their life as they develop, age, and change. Yet people often find it difficult to manage where and how to present and discuss identity transitions and changing identities on social media sites, and to find communities of similar others. These difficulties are often amplified for those with marginalized or stigmatized identities (e.g., transgender and other LGBQ people, first generation and low-income college students). We examine how people fragment their identities and networks among separate social media sites during major life transitions, and the social inequities that exist for people with marginalized identities, particularly those with multiple intersecting marginalized identities, during major life transitions (among other outcomes).

A major contribution of this line of research is The Major Life Events Taxonomy, a new taxonomy of 121 major life events in 12 categories that researchers can use to understand how life transitions people experience relate to their behaviors, health and psychological outcomes, and technology use.

Selected Publications

The Major Life Events Taxonomy: Social Readjustment, Social Media Information Sharing, and Online Network Separation During Times of Life Transition
Oliver L. Haimson, AJ Carter, Shanley Corvite, Brookelyn Wheeler, Lingbo Wang, Tianxiao Liu, Alexxus Lige
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), 72(7), July 2021 (first published online January 2021), p. 933-947
[open-access link] [PDF] [taxonomy]

Oliver L. Haimson and Megh Marathe. 2022. Uncovering Personal Histories: A Technology-Mediated Approach to Eliciting Reflection on Identity Transitions. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), (special issue on (Re)Connecting History to the Theory and Praxis of HCI), forthcoming.
[link] [PDF] [video]

The Online Authenticity Paradox: What Being "Authentic" on Social Media Means, and Barriers to Achieving It
Oliver L. Haimson, Tianxiao Liu, Ben Zefeng Zhang, Shanley Corvite
Proceedings of the ACM Human Computer Interaction (PACM HCI), 5(CSCW2), Article 423, October 2021, 18 pages (to be presented at CSCW 2021)
[link] [PDF] [video]

Social Media as Social Transition Machinery
Oliver L. Haimson
Proceedings of the ACM Human Computer Interaction (PACM HCI), 2(CSCW), Article 63, November 2018, 26 pages (presented at CSCW 2018)
[acceptance rate: 26%] [Best Paper Honorable Mention Award]
[link] [PDF] [blog]

Mapping Gender Transition Sentiment Patterns via Social Media Data: Toward Decreasing Transgender Mental Health Disparities
Oliver L. Haimson
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) (special issue on Health Informatics and Health Equity: Improving Our Reach and Impact), 26(8-9), August/September 2019 (first published online May 2019), p. 749-758
[open-access link] [PDF] [blog]