Eight years ago, I left my job as a product manager and decided that I wanted to go back to school. During the next six months, I taught myself some basic Python and learned as much as a I could about Master’s degree programs studying “the Internet”. I was fortunate enough to learn about and be accepted into the Media, Technology, and Society program at Purdue, where I took my first courses in Communication (while simultaneously teaching my first courses in Communication!). I had an incredible advisor in Seungyoon Lee, and wonderful mentors like Sorin Matei, Lorraine Kisselburgh, and Torsten Reimer.
The ubiquity of large-scale data and improvements in computational hardware and algorithms have provided enabled researchers to apply computational approaches to the study of human behavior. One of the richest contexts for this kind of work is social media datasets like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.