Andrew Schrock is a Ph.D candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California with an expected graduation date of winter 2014.

I research data & democracymobile communication, and social media. Specific foci include practices, platforms and infrastructures. As a sociologically-minded scholar, I’m particularly interested in subsequent outcomes for society such as social cohesion, civic engagement, and modes of citizenship.

My dissertation considers why individuals maximize the possibilities of mobile media to foster stronger ties with their social networks. Specifically, I found that maximizing communicative affordances of mobile social media result in improved social capital accrual and tie conversion. This provides evidence to counter the argument that mobile devices are disrupting society or distancing us from our friends and family. I’m also researching the open data movement, a network of municipal governments, organizations and “civic hackers” involved in data interpretation and software production.

My research and writing has appeared in (or will shortly appear in) New Media & Society, the International Journal of CommunicationInformation, Communication & Society, American Behavioral Scientist, The Information Society and Convergence. I’m currently working with the E-Rhythms Project on mobile communication led by Jeff Boase, and Open Data LA, which is examining open government data in Los Angeles. I’m also associated with The Annenberg Lab (with François Bar) and Civic Paths (with Henry Jenkins).

Theoretically I mostly draw from communication and sociology. My empirical research employs quantitative and qualitative methods, including trace data analysis, surveys, interviews, participant observation and experimental designs. Specific research interests include:

  • Mobile communication
  • Openness (particularly “open data”)
  • Social capital and civic engagement
  • Social Media
  • Hacking and Hacker culture

I’ve led courses with an emphasis on applied communication and technology at the University level since 2006. My class-based and extracurricular teaching employs high-impact practices such as learning communities and student projects to connect students with industry and community partners. Generally I use communication as a framework for teaching technical skills, business literacies, and group collaboration. For the last two years I’ve co-taught a course on Student Design & Innovation, and am advising on the building of a new Maker space at USC as part of a $1.2m Launchpad grant from Blackstone. Examples of successful student projects coming from classes I’ve taught include Connu, a mobile platform for short stories, and Stroome, a real-time online streaming video editor.

In my spare time I work on my garden, spend time with my daughter, and do interesting things with Raspberry Pi computers.