Nathan Jurgenson is a social media theorist, a Contributing Editor for The New Inquiry, researcher for Snapchat, and a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Maryland working on a dissertation on surveillance on social media.
The research is driven most fundamentally by the understanding that we increasingly live in an “augmented reality,” a perspective that views the digital and physical as enmeshed, opposed to viewing them as distinct (what he calls “digital dualism”).
Nathan and colleague PJ Rey founded the Cyborgology blog. Together, they also created and run the Theorizing the Web conference. The conference was held at the University of Maryland in 2011 and 2012 and at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City in 2013 and 2014. Featured speakers include danah boyd, Saskia Sassen, George Ritzer, Andy Carvin, Zeynep Tufekci, Adian Chen, Alice Marwick, David Lyon and others.
As a Contributing Editor, Nathan writes for The New Inquiry. His 2012 essay “The IRL Fetish" was named by The Verge as one of “the 25 best reads on the web this year" and was covered widely, including here in The New York Times. Nathan’s writing has also appeared in other sources such as Wired, The Atlantic, Salon, Sociological Images, Racism Review, Inside Higher Ed, OWNI, The SIPP, Corriere della Sera (Italy), Omni, and others. His essay, “The Faux-Vintage Photo,” was written about on NPR, the Boston Globe, Slate and has been translated into French and Russian. The newsmagazine Gawker listed the essay as one of “the best things we’ve read all year.”
You can hear Nathan discuss social media every month on WYPR (Baltimore NPR affiliate). He was interviewed live on the CBC radio show, Q [audio]. Nathan appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi show as well as HuffPo Live to discuss logging off and disconnection. He spoke on Al Jazeera English’s The Stream about the role of memes in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. You can also find Nathan’s writing on the Snapchat company blog, where he is a researcher (for example).
Nathan is also interested in and has published on how social media has triggered the rise of the digital “prosumer” (one who produces that which they consume and vice versa). For instance, Facebook users are both producers and consumers of the site. Together with George Ritzer, Nathan has founded the Prosumer Studies Research Group, which has published work on the topic. Nathan and George Ritzer’s paper “Production, Consumption, Prosumption: The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’ can be read in full here.
Last, Nathan is also a musician and photographer living in New York City.