News! I will be joining Google UX Research in Seattle/Kirkland.
My research centers on user experience and the social implications of computing. I take an empirically-grounded and human-centered approach, using mixed methods to 1) construct a holistic view of technology use in its cultural and political contexts and to 2) connect individual user experiences with collective societal impacts. The main topics of my recent work include social computing technologies in relation to news consumption and participation, self-directed learning, and well-being (e.g., stress, mood, multitasking, sleep).
I successfully defended my doctoral thesis in June 2017 and officially graduated from the University of California Irvine in August 2017. In the Department of Informatics at UC Irvine, I work with Professor Gloria Mark. Prior to joining in UC Irvine, I earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Peking University (Beijing University), China. You can find my full CV and a 2-page resume here.
Social network analysis
FACEBOOK USE IN PERSONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
In today’s world, people’s informational habits have been transformed by the easy access to information sources together with technology-mediated communication networks. This rapidly developing technological landscape has also allowed for a culture of autonomous exploration and learning. Widely adopted by college students, Facebook has come to serve multi-faceted purposes in college life. While some research claims that Facebook is detrimental to learning as it distracts students, others see the great potential in online social networking platforms in providing informal learning opportunities. My dissertation responds to these contrasting views on the uses and effects of Facebook, particularly on learning.
I investigated: 1) when and under what conditions college students actually use Facebook, and how; 2) whether, and in what ways, college students’ informal learning activities on Facebook are driven by their personal interests and peer networks, and ultimately useful to their academic and professional goals; and 3) how college students perceive the benefits and shortcomings associated with news engagement on Facebook. To answer these questions, I studied 50 college students’ Facebook use in their everyday lives, using mixed methods of automatic logging, experience sampling surveys, diaries, and semi-structured interviews.
DIGITAL MEDIA USE IN COLLEGE LIFE
How the college-aged Millennial generation engages with information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been an open question in recent years. Yet, existing research has mostly focused on studying the uses and effects of a single technology and/or relying on single data sources. I aim to empirically ground the discussion of youth and technology from a more holistic view. In collaboration with Gloria Mark, and Melissa Niiya, Stephanie Reich, Mark Warschauer from the School of Education at UC Irvine, we use mixed methods of computer and phone logging, sensor logging, experience sampling, surveys, and interviews to capture how college students incorporate digital media in their everyday college life.
Specifically, we have explored the relationship between stress and multitasking on the computer, investigated how college students use an assembly of social media sites, and examined effects of sleep on digital media use. I led the design and the execution of data collection, conducted quantitative and qualitative data analyses, served as the data manager of the team, and led and co-authored multiple publications. Funded through National Science Foundation.
NEWS TRUSTWORTHINESS IN CHINA
The wide adoption of social networking services provided Chinese citizens with a stage to consume and disseminate news as well as to vocalize viewpoints, at times competing with reports from highly curated official media sources. I designed and conducted two survey studies to investigate how Chinese citizens perceive the trustworthiness of news from different channels, their strategies to evaluate news credibility, and the power interplay between the official media channels and citizen media channels.
LIVING LAB - WILDFLOWER MONTESSORI SCHOOL PROJECT
I worked as a visiting researcher in the social computing group at the MIT Media Lab. With Sep Kamvar, Nazmus Saquib, Gloria Mark, and others, we sought to understand the factors related to a pre-schooler's stress, mood, ability to focus, and pro-social behaviors. I helped set up the research environment with multiple camera tracking and sensors, developed a web interface for behavioral coding, and conducted initial data collection.
DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF MULTIPLE TEXT STREAMS
In collaboration with Northrop Grumman, we set out to evaluate how different interface designs affect information workers’ ability to grasp critical information under time pressure. We designed and built working prototypes that display ten chat streams simultaneously in standard chat windows and ticker tapes. We conducted a lab experiment to compare these two interfaces by how well they support signal detection and context awareness. I participated in prototyping, managed hi-fi prototype development, and designed and conducted a lab experiment for the user study.
CENSOR CIRCUMVENTION IN CHINESE MICRO-BLOG SITE
Following the human right activist Chen Guangcheng’s escape of house arrest in 2012, I conducted a case study of censor circumventions on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo using online participant observation. I presented the findings at the 2nd International Symposium on Digital Ethics.
I contributed to the National Science Foundation funded project on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in times of crises and political events (e.g., Arab Spring; the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election). I helped collect large-scale blog data, participated in content coding, and conducted social network analyses.
FACULTY COLLABORATION NETWORK
As part of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program at New Jersey Institute of Technology, I conducted a campus-wide faculty collaboration network study using interview and network mapping (with Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, Roxanne Hiltz, Katia Passerine, Anatoliy Gruzd, and Regina Collins). I presented the findings at the 31th Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis.
Peer-reviewed Conference papers
Wang, Y. and Mark, G. (2017). Engaging with Political and Social Issues on Facebook in College Life. (Accepted) The ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media (CSCW’17). [34% acceptance rate]
Mark, G., Wang, Y., Niiya, M. and Reich, S. (2016). Sleep Debt in Student Life: Online Attention Focus, Facebook, and Mood. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’16). [23% acceptance rate]
Wang, Y., Niiya, M., Mark, G., Reich, S. and Warschauer, M. (2015). Coming of Age (Digitally): An Ecological View of Social Media Use among College Students. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media (CSCW’15). [28% acceptance rate]
Mark, G., Wang, Y. and Niiya, M. (2014). Stress and Multitasking in Everyday College Life: An Empirical Study of Online Activity. In Proceedings of the ACM conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’14). [23% acceptance rate] Honorable Mention for Best Paper.
Wang, Y., Echenique, A., Shelton, M. and Mark, G. (2013). A Comparative Evaluation of Multiple Chat Stream Interfaces for Information-intensive Environments. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’13).[20% acceptance rate]
Wang, Y. and Mark, G. (2013). Trust in Online News: Comparing Social Media and Official Media Use by Chinese Citizens. InProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’13). [36% acceptance rate]
Wang, Y. and Mark, G. (2016). News Trustworthiness and Verification in China: The Tension of Dual Media Channels. First Monday, vol.21, (2) (February 1). DOI:
Privman, R., Hiltz, R. and Wang, Y. (2013). In-Group (Us) / Out-Group (Them) Dynamics and Effectiveness in Partially Distributed Teams. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 56, (1), pp. 33-49.
Niiya, M., Reich, S., Wang, Y., Mark, G. and Warschauer, M. (2015) “I don’t really post”: Comparing Actual and Reported Facebook Use Among Emerging Adults. Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting (SRCD’15). March 19-21, 2015, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Niiya, M., Reich, S., Wang, Y., Mark, G. and Warschauer, M. (2015) Strictly by the Facebook: Unobtrusive Method for Differentiating Users. Presented at the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media (CSCW’15). March 15, 2015, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Short papers and presentations
Wang, Y. and Mark G. (2016). A Mixed-methods Study of College Students’ Informal Learning on Facebook. (Accepted) The 7th Annual Digital Media and Learning Conference (DML’16), October6-7, 2016, Irvine, California.
Wang, Y. (2012). A Case Study of Censor Circumvention in Chinese Micro-blogging Site. Presented at the 2nd International Symposium on Digital Ethics, October 29, 2012, Chicago.
Wang, Y. and Steffen-Fluhr, N. (2011). Increasing the Reliability, Sustainability and Scalability of Social Network Data Collection. Presented at the 31st International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, February 8 – 13, 2011, Florida.