Microsoft Corporation Research Intern – Social Media Collective in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Microsoft Research New England (MSRNE) is looking for advanced PhD students to join the Social Media Collective (SMC) for its 12-week Internship program. The Social Media Collective (in New England, we are Nancy Baym, Tarleton Gillespie, and Mary L. Gray, with current postdoc Elena Maris) bring together empirical and critical perspectives to understand the political and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies. Learn more about us here at https://socialmediacollective.org/about/ .

The Social Media Collective (SMC) is a network of social science and humanistic researchers, part of the Microsoft Research labs in New England and New York. It includes full-time researchers, postdocs, interns, and visitors. Our primary purpose is to provide rich contextual understanding into the social and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies. Our work spans several disciplines: anthropology, communication, economics, information, law, media studies, women’s studies, science & technology studies, and sociology.

The Social Media Collective is comprised of full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. interns, and research assistants. Current projects in New England include:

  • How does the use of social media affect relationships between artists and audiences in creative industries, and what does that tell us about the future of work? (Nancy Baym)

  • How are social media platforms, through their algorithmic design and user policies, taking up the role of custodians of public discourse? (Tarleton Gillespie)

  • What are the cultural, political, and economic implications of crowdsourcing as a new form of semi-automated, globally-distributed digital labor? (Mary L. Gray)

  • How and why do industries seek out qualitative understandings of users, technology, big data, metrics and analytics, and who does this kind of ‘soft data’ work? (Elena Maris)

For more information about the Social Media Collective, and a list of past interns, visit the About at https://socialmediacollective.org/about/ page of our blog. For a complete list of all permanent researchers and current postdocs based at the New England lab, see: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/labs/newengland/people/bios.aspx

Responsibilities

The ideal candidate may be trained in any number of disciplines (including anthropology, communication, information studies, media studies, sociology, science and technology studies, or a related field), but should have a strong social scientific or humanistic methodological, analytical, and theoretical foundation, be interested in questions related to media or communication technologies and society or culture, and be interested in working in a highly interdisciplinary environment that includes computer scientists, mathematicians, and economists.

Primary mentors for this year will be Nancy Baym, Mary L. Gray, and Tarleton Gillespie, with additional guidance offered by other members of the SMC. We are looking for applicants working in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Personal relationships and digital media

  2. Audiences and the shifting landscapes of producer/consumer relations

  3. Affective, immaterial, and other frameworks for understanding digital labor

  4. How platforms, through their design and policies, shape public discourse

  5. The politics of algorithms, metrics, and big data for a computational culture

  6. The political economies of on-demand labor

  7. The difference between traditional cooperatively-managed markets and Commons and online platform cooperatives

  8. The ethics of dataset creation and uses of large-scale social data for qualitative research

Interns are also expected to give short presentations on their project, contribute to the SMC blog, attend the weekly lab colloquia, and contribute to the life of the community through weekly lunches with fellow PhD interns and the broader lab community. There are also natural opportunities for collaboration with SMC researchers and visitors, and with others currently working at MSRNE, including computer scientists, economists, and mathematicians. PhD interns are expected to be on-site for the duration of their internship.

Qualifications

Applicants must have advanced to candidacy in their PhD program by the time they start their internship. (Unfortunately, there are no opportunities for Master’s students or early PhD students at this time). Applicants from historically marginalized communities, underrepresented in higher education, and students from universities outside of the United States are encouraged to apply.

Your application needs to include:

  1. A short description (no more than 2 pages, single spaced) of 1 or 2 projects that you propose to do while interning at MSRNE, independently and/or in collaboration with current SMC researchers. The project proposals can be related to, but must be distinct from your dissertation research. Be specific and tell us:

  2. What is the research question animating your proposed project?

  3. What methods would you use to address your question?

  4. How does your research question speak to the interests of the SMC?

  5. Who do you hope to reach (who are you engaging) with this proposed research?

  6. A brief description of your dissertation project.

  7. An academic article-length manuscript (7,000 or more) that you have authored or co-authored (published or unpublished) that demonstrates your writing skills.

  8. A copy of your CV.

  9. The names and contact information for 3 references (one must be your dissertation advisor).

  10. if available, pointers to your website or other online presence (this is not required).

  11. In addition to those qualifications, you’ll need submit the names of three reference letter for this position (one must be your dissertation advisor). After you submit your application, a request for letters may be sent to your list of references on your behalf. Note that reference letters cannot be requested until after you have submitted your application, and furthermore, that they might not be automatically requested for all candidates. You may wish to alert your letter writers in advance, so they will be ready to submit your letter.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Tarleton Gillespie at tarleton@microsoft.com and include “SMC PhD Internship” in the subject line.

Required Qualifications

  • Must be currently enrolled in a PhD program.

  • Must have advanced to candidacy in their PhD program.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form at https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/accommodationrequest .

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.