Author archives

Aarushi Bhandari - Assistant Professor of Sociology, Davidson College. My current research trajectory focuses on the attention economy; the economies constructed for information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the internet and social media. My book "Attention and Alienation: Reflections on the Many Promises of ICTs for Social Progress" is under contract with Columbia University Press. This book presents quantitative data on internet and mobile penetration across the world from 1990-2020 to unpack the historical impacts these technologies have had on different elements of global change, including international development and social movements. Throughout the book, I weave narratives about my own experiences growing up as a young millennial girl during the Nepali Civil War. These narratives provide the contexts, positions and perspectives that inspire my analysis of the data. Expanding on my interests in the phenomena of technology and attention, my newer projects focus on the study of meditation and mindfulness as radical tools to reclaim our attention from “big tech” firms and social media platforms. As a teacher, I am especially keen to uncover this line of inquiry to support my students for whom digital and social media are integral aspects of living. My next book project will be at the nexus of the study of attention, mindfulness and the future of technology. Finally, I am also continuing my work on communication technologies and society through interdisciplinary collaborative projects on the social dimensions of rapidly evolving Artificial Intelligence (AI) and language models.

Taylor Swift and the end of the Hollywood writers strike – a tale of two media narratives

Professor Aarushi Bhandari was taken aback when she learned that not a single student had heard that the Writers Guild of America had reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, after a nearly 150-day strike. This historic deal includes significant raises, improvements in health care and pension support, and – unique to our times – protections against the use of artificial intelligence to write screenplays. Across online media platforms, the WGA announcement on Sept. 24, 2023, ended up buried under headlines and posts about the celebrity duo of Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. To Bhandari, this disconnect felt like a microcosm of the entire online media ecosystem.

Subjects: Communications, Internet Trends, KM, News Resources, Social Media