What has been your career path leading up to your current position?
I studied at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, and actually did an exchange semester at BI during my Masters. I remember being very impressed with how approachable and friendly the professors were. I then did my PhD in St. Gallen, writing about how workplaces change through social media.
During this time, I was lucky to get a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation which allowed me to stay for a year with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. After my PhD, I worked for several years in the digital industry, developing digital products for a Swiss retailer.
During that time I was also an adjunct researcher at BI. In 2018 I had the chance to join BI fulltime as a Postdoc on Christian Fieseler’s Toppforsk project ‘future ways of working in the digital economy’. Last year I was able to apply for my current Associate Professor position and together with Christoph Lutz I am currently also Co-Director of the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society.
What are your current research projects?
In my research I seek to understand how people organize outside of traditional organizations and how they use the Internet to do so. In particular, I look into how people use the affordances of online communities and other digital work environments to communicate, to collaborate and to coordinate action.
Some of the questions I am excited about are for example how social movements can arise from online communities, how digital workers make sense of algorithmic decision-making, or how solidarity and voice form in the gig economy.
I find this particularly interesting because these questions have larger implications, and they tell us a lot about how our society works. The research has thus the potential to give us a bit of a glimpse into the future as well. For instance, more and more workplaces, both traditional and otherwise, are going to be confronted with algorithmic decision-making.
What makes your research meaningful to you?
I feel that many of the larger questions of our time can be answered, at least in part, through a better understanding of the interplay between humans and technology. Our research contributes to finding answers: fairer work environments, better policymaking, and more human-centered technology development. Through engaging with these topics, I get to be part of creating such answers. On a personal level, my current research allows me to engage with some of the most interesting people – gig workers, artists, entrepreneurs and even soldiers – and learn about their realities and identities. This is enormously meaningful to me.