Curriculum Vitae

Alex Leavitt

Internet and media researcher. PhD student at USC Annenberg.

aleavitt@usc.edu | http://alexleavitt.com | (781) 526-6483

EDUCATION

University of Southern California
2016
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Currently enrolled
Los Angeles, CA
Ph.D., Communication
USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship
Boston University
2009
College of Arts & Sciences
Boston, MA
B.A., English Language & Literature; minor concentration in Japanese
Magna Cum Laude
Boston University Scholarship
Boston University Dean's List (5 of 8 semesters)
Kyoto University
2008
Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies
Kyoto, Japan
Freeman-ASIA Scholarship Recipient

RESEARCH POSITIONS

Sony PlayStation (San Diego & Santa Monica Studios)
2014 - present
San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA
Data Science & User Research Graduate Intern
Annenberg Innovation Lab / Norman Learn Center
2012 - present
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Research Assistant
Media Impact Project & Data Science Research Teams
Disney Interactive
2013
Los Angeles, CA
Data Science Graduate Intern
2012 - 2013
New York, NY
Research & Development Intern
2011
University of California, Irvine; Los Angeles, CA
Consultant for Mimi Ito, Ph.D.
2010 - 2011
Cambridge, MA
Research Assistant to danah boyd, Ph.D.
Microsoft, Entertainment & Devices Division
2011
Cambridge, MA; Redmond, WA
Content Expert Consultant
2009 - 2011
Comparative Media Studies Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge, MA
Research Specialist
Yale University
2010
New Haven, CT
Research Assistant to Elizabeth Stark, J.D.
2009 - present
Cambridge, MA
Lead Researcher
2008 - present
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Researcher & Analyst
2009
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Intern & Research Assistant, Digital Natives Project
Boston University & Kyoto University
2008
Kyoto, Japan; Boston, MA
Research Assistant to Professor Sarah Frederick

FELLOWSHIPS

Digital Ecologies Research Project Fellow
2014 - present
USC Annenberg Graduate Fellow
2011 - present
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California; Los Angeles, CA
Futures of Entertainment Fellow
2011 - present

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

COMM 620: Data Retrieval and Processing Techniques (PhD-level course in Python)
2014
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Teaching Assistant to Professor Lian Jian, Ph.D.
Intro to Social Network Analysis in R
2014
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Invited Workshop (co-led with Joshua Clark)
CTIN 599: Special Topics: Interactive Research Methods for Entertainment
2014
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Invited Lecture for Professor Dennis Wixon, Ph.D.
Annenberg Summer Institute for Methods & Statistics: Python & Web Research
2013
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Teaching Assistant to & Co-instructor w/ Professor Lian Jian, Ph.D.
COMM 202: Communication & Technology
2013
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Teaching Assistant to Professor Doug Thomas, Ph.D.
COMM 202: Communication & Technology
2012
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Invited Lecture for Professor Henry Jenkins, Ph.D.: "What is Global Digital Culture?"
COMM 599: Mobile Communication: Learning by Hacking
2012
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Invited Lecture for Professor François Bar, Ph.D.: "Introduction to APIs with Python"
COMM 202: Communication & Technology
2012
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; Los Angeles, CA
Teaching Assistant to Professor Dmitri Williams, Ph.D.
LSTU E-120: Internet and Society: Technologies and Politics of Control, Spring 2011
2011
Harvard University Extension School & Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Cambridge, MA
Teaching Assistant to Rob Faris, Ph.D. & Professor David Ardia, J.D.

GRANTS, FUNDING, SCHOLARSHIPS, & AWARDS

Annenberg Graduate Fellowship Research Symposium Award
2012 - 2014
$500
USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship
2011 - 2016
[undisclosed]
FLOW TV Conference Travel Scholarship
2010
$150
Boston University UROP, Conference Participation Travel Award
2009
$500
Boston University UROP, Student Research Award
2008
$2000
Institute of International Education, Freeman-ASIA Award
2008
$5000
Boston University Merit Scholarship
2005 - 2009
$16,000 (per year)

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES

Leavitt, Alex. (2015). "This is a Throwaway Account": Temporary Technical Identities and Perceptions of Anonymity in a Massive Online Community. In Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW '15. [Acceptance rate: 28.3%]
[PDF]
Leavitt, Alex, & Clark, Joshua. (2014). Upvoting Hurricane Sandy: Event-Based News Production Processes on a Social News Site. In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '14. [Acceptance rate: 22.8%]
[PDF]
Alex Leavitt & Andrea Horbinsky. (2012). Even a Monkey Can Understand Fan Activism: Political Speech, Artistic Expression, and the Public of the Japanese Dojin Community. Transformative Works & Cultures, 10. Retrieved from http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/321/311.
[PDF]
danah boyd, Jenny Ryan, & Alex Leavitt. (2011). Pro-Self-Harm and the Visibility of Youth-Generated Problematic Content. I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 7 (1). Retrieved from http://alexleavitt.com/papers/2011_IS_ProSelfHarm.pdf.
[PDF]

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
ARTICLES UNDER REVIEW

N/A
Under Review

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
BOOK CHAPTERS

Clark, Joshua, Leavitt, Alex, & Williams, Dmitri. (2015). Community Aspects of Online Games. In International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Leavitt, Alex. (2013). From #followfriday to YOLO: Exploring the Cultural Salience of Twitter Memes. In Katrin Weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt, & Cornelius Puschmann (Eds.), Twitter & Society. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
[PDF]
Alex Leavitt. (2013). Performing with Glee. In Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, & Joshua Green (Eds.), Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York, NY: NYU Press. Retrieved from http://spreadablemedia.org/essays/leavitt/#.UOI814njl5Y.

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
BOOK REVIEWS

Alex Leavitt. (2010). Inside Scanlation [Web site review]. Transformative Works and Cultures, 5. Retrieved from http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/215/172.
[PDF]

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS:
ONLINE ARTICLES

Alex Leavitt. (2011). Minecraft, 'Open-Source Culture,' & Networked Game Development. In Media Res. Retrieved from http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2011/08/17/minecraft-open-source-culture-networked-game-development.
Alex Leavitt. (2011). The Global Cult(ure) of Hatsune Miku. In Media Res. Retrieved from http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2011/04/29/global-culture-hatsune-miku.

WHITE PAPERS

[private 2]
2011. Alex Leavitt. Microsoft: Entertainment & Devices Division.
[private 1]
2011. Alex Leavitt. Microsoft: Entertainment & Devices Division.
"Watching with the World: Television Audiences and Online Social Networks"
[PDF]
2011. Alex Leavitt. Convergence Culture Consortium.
[PDF]
2010. Alex Leavitt, Tim Hwang. Web Ecology Project.
[PDF]
2009. Alex Leavitt, John Beilin, Matt Blake, Mac Cowell, Dave Fisher, Sam Gilbert, Russell Hanson, Tim Hwang, Greg Marra, Robert Mason, Colin McSwiggen, Dharmishta Rood, Aaron Shaw, Frank Tobia, Seth Woodworth. Web Ecology Project.

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
ACADEMIC, RESEARCH

Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference
2014
Daegu, Korea
Panelist
Live-Tweeting Scandal: Twitter Communities and Modes of Social Engagement AMongst a Television Viewing Audience (with lead authors Dayna Chatman, Kevin Driscoll, & Francois Bar)
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
2014
Toronto, Canada
Workshop Participant
Games User Research Summit - Paper: The Catch of Culture: Game Research Between Big Data & Qualitative Inquiry (with co-author Joshua Clark)
Theorizing the Web
2014
New York, NY
Lecturer
Visibility, Accountable Infrastructures, and the Failure of Networked Collaboration in Reddit’s /r/findbostonbombers
International Communication Association Annual Conference
2014
Seattle, WA
Panelist
Data-Driven Data Research Using Data and Databases: A Practical Critique of Methods and Approaches in “Big Data” Studies (paper: "Big Data" is Not Data: Applying Large-Scale Computational Tools to Ethnographic Social Media Research)
International Communication Association Annual Conference
2014
Seattle, WA
Workshop Participant
"Big Data is Bullshit": Scoping the Next 5 Years of Digital Data Research
Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference
2013
Denver, CO
Panelist (with co-authors Kevin Driscoll, Mike Ananny, Francois Bar, Kristen Guth, Abe Kazemzadeh, & Kjerstin Thorson)
Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets: Humor and live-tweeting during the 2012 U.S. Presidential Debates
Digital Societies and Social Technologies (DSST) Summer Institute
2013
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Workshop Participant
InfoSocial: A Media, Technology, & Society Conference
2012
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Panelist
No Copyright Infringement Intended: Emergent Sociotechnical Behaviors in Networked Media Sharing
Objects of Knowledge (Lecture Series)
2012
Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Invited Lecturer
The Open-Source Girl Who Conquered the World
Summer Social Webshop
2012
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Workshop Participant
International Communication Association
2012
Phoenix, AZ
Panelist
Jumping for Fun? Negotiating Mobility and the Geopolitics of Foursquare
Annenberg Research Symposium
2012
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Panelist
No Copyright Infringement Intended: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach to Networked Media Sharing
Local and Mobile: 3rd Joint International Conference of the Pan-American Mobilities Network
2012
University of North Carolina
Panelist
Participation!/Exploitation? Graduate Conference
2012
UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Panelist
She's Dying on YouTube: Vocaloid, Open-Source Culture, and the Save Miku Campaign
Digital Media & Learning Conference
2012
San Francisco, CA
Panelist & Moderator
Learning In & Around Game: Minecraft as Affinity Space
Internet Research 12
2011
Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference; Seattle, WA
Panelist
How I Saved An Internet: Encyclopedia Dramatica & the Practical and Ethical Tensions of Backing Up
International Communication Association
2011
Boston, MA
Panelist (Pre-Conference Workshop: Placing the Aesthetic in Popular Culture: Quality, Value, and Beauty in Communication and Scholarship)
"Open-Source" Culture & the Cult of Hatsune Miku
Media in Transition 7
2011
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Panelist
Digital Culture in Transition: "Open-Source" Culture & the Cult of Hatsune Miku
Digital Media & Learning Conference: Designing Learning Futures
2011
Long Beach, California
Panelist & Moderator (Refereed Panel)
Playing with Fire: Learning in Niche Online Communities
humanities + digital Visual Interpretations Conference
2010
MIT, Cambridge, MA
Panelist
Popular Culture Association National Conference
2010
St. Louis, MO
Panelist
From Narrative to Character: Transmedia, Emotional Economies, and the Success of Neon Genesis Evangelion
Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits: Culture and Creation in Manga and Anime, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2009
Minneapolis, MN
Panelist
Death to Narrative Structure! The Conflicting Relationship of Money & Vision in Neon Genesis Evangelion
Popular Culture Association National Conference
2009
New Orleans, LA
Panelist
Asian Popular Culture - Otaku: The (Un)popular Fandom
Harvard Program for Asian & International Relations
2009
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Panelist
Trends of Education in Asia

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
ACADEMIC, NON-RESEARCH

University of Southern California
2012
Graduate Student Government Academic Affairs Committee; University of Southern California
Invited Panelist
"Academic Branding" or Why Every Grad Student Should Have Their Own Website

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
INDUSTRY, RESEARCH

GDC Next
2014
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
TwitchPlayedPokemon: An Analysis of the Experimental Interactive Phenomenon
HelloKittyCon: 40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty
2014
Los Angeles, CA
Invited Lecturer
From Hello Kitty to Hatsune Miku: The Character(s) of Japanese Popular Culture
Penny Arcade Expo: Prime
2014
Seattle, WA
Lecturer
TwitchPlayedPokemon: A Postmortem for a Cultural Phenomenon
Penny Arcade Expo: Prime
2013
Seattle, WA
Lecturer
Crafting Minecraft: The Future of Gaming is Open-Source Culture
South by Southwest
2013
Austin, TX
Panelist & Moderator
The Open-Source Girl Who Conquered the World
South by Southwest
2013
Austin, TX
Panelist
Bots for Civic Engagement
Canadian Marketing Association Direct Marketing Conference
2012
Los Angeles, CA
Invited Keynote Speaker
It's a Bright Future If You're An Algorithm: The Future of Marketing is (Not) Data
TransmediaLA
2012
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Anime Expo: 2012 Academic Symposium
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Panelist
Even a Monkey Can Understand Fan Activism: Political Speech, Artistic Expression, and the Public of the Japanese Dojin Community
South by Southwest
2012
Austin, TX
Speaker
The Open-Source Cult(ure) of Hatsune Miku
Microsoft Social Computing Symposium
2012
New York City, NY
Invited Workshop Participant & Lecturer
Minecon
2011
Las Vegas, NV
Panelist
Minecraft: Gaming & Education
Penny Arcade Expo: Prime
2011
Seattle, WA
Lecturer
Active Cultures
2011
Pacific Asia Museum; Pasadena, CA
Lecturer
The Cult of Hatsune Miku
Mindshare LA
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Social Disruption: How We Complicate Technology
Anime Expo: 2011 Academic Symposium
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Panelist
"Open-Source" Culture & the Cult of Hatsune Miku
Barcamp Boston 6
2011
Boston, MA
Lecturer
When Viral Went Viral: Social Media Norms & the Story of Minecraft
Penny Arcade Expo: East
2011
Boston, MA
Lecturer
The Hidden Value of Punching Trees: What Minecraft Reveals About Game Culture
Canadian Marketing Association Direct Marketing Conference
2010
Toronto, Canada
Lecturer
After Convergence Culture: The Producer-Consumer Wars in the Age of Social Media
MacLaren MCM MMU Conference
2010
Toronto, Canada
Lecturer
After Convergence Culture: The Producer-Consumer Wars in the Age of Social Media
2010 Future of News and Civic Media Conference
2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Panelist
Kids These Days: Youth and Online Communities
Open Video Conference
2010
New York University, New York, NY
Lecturer
When YouTube Killed the Downfall Meme
FLOW Conference
2010
UT Austin, Austin, TX
Panelist
What's Stopping the (Global) Flow of TV?
BarCamp Boston 5
2010
Boston, MA
Lecturer
Euro Plus Cloud Minus Plane Equals Question Mark: How the Internet is Reacting to a Giant Volcano
The Next Big Issues in Social Media (As Told By ChatRoulette)
Penny Arcade Expo: East
2010
Boston, MA
Lecturer
Memes, Microcultures, and 2D Chicks: Our Future in the Otaku Gamer
Ignite Boston 6
2010
Boston, MA
Lecturer
Open Video Conference
2009
New York University, New York, NY
Lecturer
Anime Video Culture: The Case of Fansubs, Anime Music Videos, & Copyright
Podcamp Boston 4
2009
Boston, MA
Lecturer
How Did Social Technology Change Web Culture?
South by Southwest
2009
Austin, TX
Moderator & Panelist

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
FAN CONVENTIONS

Anime Expo
2013
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Anime Intro & Ending Themes
Eromanga: The Good, the Bad, & the WTF
Anime Expo
2013
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Eromanga: The Good, the Bad, & the WTF
Anime Expo
2012
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Eromanga: The Good, the Bad, & the WTF
Fanime
2012
San Jose, CA
Lecturer
Scans, Trans, & Fans: Piracy
The Cult(ure) of Hatsune Miku
Uncool Japan: Memoirs of Otaku
Comikaze
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Uncool Japan: The Trials & Tribulations of Japanese Pop Culture
Anime 201: You've Seen Some Shows, Now What?
Anime Expo
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Lecturer
Uncool Japan: The Trials & Tribulations of Japanese Pop Culture
A Survey of Anime Intro & Ending Themes
Anime Tune-Up: Exploring Animation Through Music
New York Anime Festival
2010
New York, NY
Moderator
Anime in Academia
Otakon
2010
Baltimore, MD
Moderator
Anime in Academia
Lecturer
Experiments in the Anime Industry: noitaminA
What's the Point of Anime Opening & Ending Themes?
Anime Boston
2010
Boston, MA
Moderator
Anime in Academia
Lecturer
Introduction to Anime Intro and Ending Themes
After Cowboy Bebop: The Works of Shinichiro Watanabe
Chains, Trains, and Happy Endings: Japan's Underground Sex Culture
On the Road for Anime Pilgrimages
Impact of Evangelion
Hentai Manga: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
From Antisocial Loser to Economic Hero: The History of Otakudom
Otakon
2009
Baltimore, MD
Moderator
Anime in Academia
Lecturer
Without Watching the Anime: Opening & Ending Themes
The Impact of Evangelion
The Problem with Otaku
Anime Expo
2009
Anaheim, CA
Lecturer
Without Watching the Anime: Opening & Ending Themes
The Problem with Otaku
Panelist
Anime in Academia
Introduction to Anime & Manga Studies
Anime Boston
2009
Boston, MA
Lecturer
Music, Genre, & the Works of Shinichiro Watanabe
The Virtual Worlds of Anime
The Anime That's Not Anime: Opening & Ending Themes
Chains, Trains, & Love Hotels: The Japanese Sex Industry
Panelist
Akiba Empire: The Otaku Influence
Connecticon
2008
Hartford, CT
Lecturer
The Anime Culture
Anime Boston
2008
Boston, MA
Moderator & Panelist
Technology, Globalization, and the American Otaku
Trescaflowgun: Comparative Themes in Japanese Animation

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
EVENT MANAGEMENT

Digital Media & Learning Conference: Designing Learning Futures
2012
Long Beach, California
Organizer
Futures of Entertainment 5
2011
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Organizer
Digital Media & Learning Conference: Designing Learning Futures
2011
Long Beach, California
Organizer
ROFLcon II
2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Communications Manager
Futures of Entertainment 4
2009
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Event Manager
ROFLthing NY
2009
New York City, NY
Staff
Beyond Broadcast
2008
American University, Washington, D.C.
Social Media Consultant

CONFERENCES, PANELS & PRESENTATIONS:
DELEGATION

ROFLcon III
2012
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Delegate
MIT Business in Gaming
2010
Microsoft Research New England, Cambridge, MA
Delegate
Harvard Program for Asian & International Relations
2008 - 2009
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Delegate
Beyond Broadcast
2008
American University, Washington, D.C.
Delegate
Berkman@10
2008
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Delegate
ROFLcon
2008
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Delegate

ACADEMIC SERVICE

ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
2013 - present
Reviewer
Association of Internet Researchers
2013 - present
Reviewer
International Communication Association
2012 - present
Reviewer

LANGUAGE SKILLS

Fluent in English
Conversant & literate in French
Intermediate skills in Japanese
Elementary skills in Mandarin Chinese

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Programming/Scripting: Python, R
Databases: SQL (MySQL, PostgresQL, OracleDB, Vertica), NoSQL (MongoDB)
Web Development: HTML, CSS, Python (Flask), JQuery, Javascript
Visualization: Tableau, Photoshop, Illustrator, PowerPoint/Keynote, Gephi, D3js
Project Management: Scrum, Trello
Graphic Design: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (intermediate)
Video/Audio: Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Soundbooth, Audacity (intermediate)