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Sharing our mundane details of daily life did not start with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. For centuries, people have used pocket diaries, photo albums, and baby books to catalog and share their lives with family and friends. Has social media made us more narcissistic, or have these new media technologies allowed us to pursue more meaningful ways to express ourselves?

In a Chats in the Stacks book talk at Mann Library, Lee Humphreys presents her new book, The Qualified Self: Social Media and the Accounting of Everyday Life MIT Press. Applying a rich historical perspective on popular culture, Humphreys’ research explores the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology, mobile phone use in public spaces, and emerging norms on mobile social networks.

Lee Humphreys is an Associate Professor in Communication at Cornell University. She studies the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology. Recently her research examines historical media practices, privacy, and mobile media. Professor Humphreys received her Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and joined the Cornell faculty in 2008, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses that explore the role and impact of communication technology on public life and also trains students in the use of qualitative research methods. Prof. Humphrey’s research has appeared in such journals as Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. She is an Associate Editor of Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, and serves on the editorial board of several other journals in the communication field.