Evolution of and Divides in the Swiss Information Society 2011–2017

In April we will be presenting a new longitudinal analysis of Swiss World Internet Project data at the Annual Conference of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research that addresses the adoption rates of the (mobile) Internet and specific uses, how these have evolved between 2011 and 2017, which digital divides regarding use, skills, and perceptions persist and how they have changed.

The study provides nationally representative and long-term data, which allows not only reliable results on current digital divides in Switzerland, but also important insights into their evolution. Thereby, an assessment of the success and suitability of existing policy measures for digital inclusion can be made. Such empirical results have been missing thus far but form a crucial basis and legitimization for potential policies regarding ICT developments. A broad view on Internet use and related perceptions is needed to complement existing, more specific analyses (e.g., use of voting advice applications or health information seeking) to locate structural digital inequalities in the information society. The case of Switzerland as a European country with very high Internet penetration offers indications for policies that also have value for other social democracies where the Internet is crucial for everyday functioning.

Why Does Internet Use Matter?

I recently presented an overview of our most recent studies on digital inequality to argue the relevance of studying Internet use at the Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IFiS PAN) in Warsaw. The conference was dedicated to a transdisciplinary approach to discussing new directions in the sociology of social problems and featured speakers from more than a dozen countries and disciplines such as sociology, economics, history, and philosophy. A short abstract of my talk can be found here.

Street in the Praga disctrict, Warsaw, Poland

Digital Inequality and Online Political Participation

An article I coauthored has been accepted for publication in Socius, an open access journal supported by the American Sociological Association.

A general mobilizing effect of the Internet on political participation has been difficult to demonstrate. This study takes a digital inequality perspective and analyzes the role of Internet expertise for the social structuration of online political participationA distinct group of political online participants emerged characterized by high education and income. Further, online political participation is predicted by political interest and Internet skills, which increasingly mediated the effects of social position.

Preprint Published version of “Testing a Digital Inequality Model for Online Political Participation.”

World Internet Project Meeting in Moscow

This year’s Annual Meeting of the World Internet Project took place in Moscow hosted by the Internet Initiatives Development Fund and Moscow City University. After an open day featuring eCity and eGovernment panels, 25 national partners presented and discussed new findings on Internet use in their respective countries and regions. The Swiss team focused on digital well-being.


Summer Institute in Computational Social Science

I recently participated in the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation held at Princeton University. Course materials are available here.

My night shot of Whitman College