Emma is a third year PHD candidate in communication studies, specializing in humanistic research and media studies. Prioritizing aural over visual information, she dissects how aural senses affect humanity’s relationship to emerging digital technologies. Her M.A. thesis explored emotive oral traditions re-mediated via YouTube video blogs. More specifically, this research endeavor developed a typology of 'the rant,' analyzing how YouTube vloggers perform rants ‘online,’ both as modes of identity construction and as potentially powerful acts that shape countercultural publics. Her current research problematizes user labor via Spotify. As a music ‘shaeming’ site (fabricated terminology combining ‘streaming’ and ‘sharing’), Spotify is an ideal object of study, poised at the intersection of affect studies, media theory, sound studies, information policy, and surveillance studies. Following Mark Andrejevic, Tarleton Gillespie, Pierre Schaeffer and others, she probes the algorithmic organization of playlists – structured around mood – inherent in this and other Social Network Sites (boyd & Ellison, 2013). She argues that Spotify’s association with (and reliance on) platform rhetoric(s), obfuscates the nature of the relationship people continue to develop with their music, and their sense of self, via this interface.
Concurrent projects interrogate the soundscapes afforded by another interface – Netflix. Analyzing transnational television crime dramas produced by Netflix, she contrasts the narrative plotlines and sound bridges of several fictitious crime programs co-produced internationally. A social activist at heart, she pinpoints sound in audiovisual media to determine how educators, researchers, and concerned citizens might organize and encourage all people to think critically about their aural relationship with technology. She is fascinated by the ways that human beings are evolving with or alongside their tools. She is likewise concerned – lest ‘human-ness’ becomes more and more muted – in the contemporary moment. She believes an increasingly interconnected globe powered by international trade among corporate monopolies is a dangerous global landscape, and worth challenging.