Tricia Wang

Technology Ethnographer

Tricia Wang is a global technology ethnographer and the co-founder of Constellate Data. She advises organizations on integrating “Big Data” and what she calls Thick Data — data brought to light using digital age ethnographic research methods that uncover emotions, stories, and meaning — to improve strategy, policy, products, and services. Organizations she has worked with include P&G, IDEO, Nokia, Microsoft, Kickstarter, the United Nations, and NASA.

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As a tech researcher, she seeks to understand how technology makes us more human. Her research spans from China to social media and most recently, virtual reality. For nearly ten years, she has lived and worked across four continents, studying the effects of social media on people’s lives. Her immersive research has taken her to internet cafés in Beijing, urban slums in India, small towns in rural Mexico, and immigrant housing in Sweden. Based on her extensive fieldwork, she formulated a sociological framework for understanding online behavior, The Elastic Self.

She was the first Western scholar to have worked within the China Internet Network Information Center in Beijing (the equivalent of the FCC in the United States, and the nucleus of the country’s censorship policies). Tricia’s work and points of view have been featured in Slate, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Fast Company, Makeshift, and Wired. She guests lectures widely and has taught at New York University. Tricia is also the co-founder of Ethnography Matters, a site that features cutting edge uses of ethnographic approaches in design, science, and tech.

Currently, she’s an affiliate at Data & Society, and at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Tricia holds a PhD in sociology from UC San Diego, and is a Fulbright Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow.

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