I study politicians, non-profit organizations, and television fans to understand how people use social media to organize, discuss, and enact social change. My work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Nayar Prize, Mozilla, Amazon, DiscoverText, and Illinois Institute of Technology.
Social media has some very real toxicity challenges, like harassment and cyberbullying, that diminish its utility for collective and democratic efforts, so I work on curbing those too (Mozilla Grant, Nayar Prize).
I have a few titles at the University of Michigan:
From 2010 - 2017, I was a faculty member in the Humanities Department and directed the Collective Action and Social Media Lab at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Work with Me
I’m recruiting PhD students to work with me at both UMSI and ICPSR. Check out some of my research or other activities, and contact me if you’re interested.
PhD students will be admitted through the School of Information; applications are due December 1. I’m looking for 2-3 PhD students who are interested in
- digital curation and data management, especially administrative and/or social media data
- politics and social media, especially in the U.S. and/or the Global South
- hostility detection and de-escalation in social media
I’m especially interested in students who are curious about the impact of social media on democracy and civic engagement and how we can use computation and automation to make conversations and participation more just and accessible. You should have stats and computational expertise or be willing to gain some quickly. You should also have expertise or a strong interest in political science, critical race and feminism studies, and/or communication.
For instance, one of the papers I’m writing now uses a classification model we developed in Python using scikit-learn and nltk. We label tweets with that model and then use multinomial logisitic regression to understand differences between policy tweeting patterns in Congress. I use this approach—build and train a model, label some content, analyze the patterns, and explain the implications for political science and communication—in most of my work, and you should be interested in those steps and experienced in at least one of them.
Current Research Projects
Get in Touch
Email is best.
Here’s a PDF of my CV, and a few recent publications:
- Liu, P., Guberman, J., Hemphill, L., & Culotta, A. (2018). Forecasting the presence and intensity of hostility on Instagram using linguistic and social features. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Web and Social Media. Stanford, CA, USA.
- Shapiro, M. and Hemphill, L. (2017). Politicians and the Policy Agenda: Does Use of Twitter by the U.S. Congress Direct New York Times Content? Policy and Internet . doi: 10.1002/poi3.120
- Hemphill, L., Culotta, A., & Heston, M. (2016). #Polar Scores: Measuring Partisanship Using Social Media Content. Journal of Information Technology & Politics. 13(4). doi: 10.1080/19331681.2016.1214093
- Hemphill, L., Roback, A. (2014) Tweet Acts: How Constituents Lobby Congress via Twitter. Proceedings of the 2014 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Baltimore, MD. doi: 10.1145/2531602.2531735
- Hemphill, L., Otterbacher, J., and Shapiro, M.A. (2013) What’s Congress Doing on Twitter? Proceedings of the 2013 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, San Antonio, TX, 887-886. doi: 10.1145/2441776.2441876
Some of my work that’s not (yet) published. These are workshop papers, papers under review, and/or longer versions of papers for conferences that review only abstracts during submission.
- Hemphill, L. and Schopke, A.M. (2019) Two Computational Models for Analyzing Political Attention in Social Media
- Im, J., Chandrasekharan, E., Sargent, J., Lighthammer, P., Denby, T., Bhargava, A., Hemphill, L., Jurgens, D., and Gilbert, E. (2019) Still out there: Modeling and Identifying Russian Troll Accounts on Twitter
- Hemphill, L., Million, A.J., and Erickson, I. (2018) Crafting Moral Infrastructures: How Non-profits Use Facebook to Survive
- Hemphill, L., Leonard, S.H., and Hedstrom, M. (2018) Developing a Social Media Archive at ICPSR
- Hemphill, L. and Shapiro, M.A. (2018) Appealing to the Base or to the Moveable Middle? Incumbents’ Partisan Messaging Before the 2016 U.S. Congressional Elections
- Hemphill, L. (2018) More Specificity, More Attention to Social Context: Reframing How We Address ``Bad Actors’’
- Hemphill, L., Culotta, A., and Heston, M. (2013) Framing in Social Media: How the US Congress Uses Twitter Hashtags to Frame Political Issues
You can find more at
- Deep Blue (Michigan’s institutional repository)
- arXiv.org (open access e-prints)
- SSRN (though I won’t post new papers here now that Elsevier owns it)