Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Connecticut, where she conducts research in the Human-Computer Interaction lab. Broadly, her research interest is on the benefits of social media in terms of learning new information, civic engagement, and well-being. Specifically, her work focuses on the features of these communities that shape how we communicate with and through them. Her main line of research aims to understand the effects of the shift to engaging with news content via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter on knowledge about and involvement in current events. Other projects include understanding the technology choices we make for diverse communication needs, the effects of information disclosed about us by others online, the use of social media platforms for seeking information, and the role of self-tracking apps in our health and our communication with online social networks.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Pennsylvania State University: Ph.D., Mass Communications 2011
Portland State University: B.A. magna cum laude, Psychology 2005
Recognition of Teaching Excellence (professional)
Awarded by the Office of the Provost, University of Connecticut.
Most Innovative Professor (professional)
Awarded by the Communication Society, University of Connecticut.
Most Valuable Professor (professional)
Awarded by UConn Athletics, University of Connecticut.
Media Appearances (8)
UConn professors research social media’s role in health sharing
The Daily Campus online
The study was led by Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, assistant professor of Communication and John Christensen, associate professor of Communication, as well as Penn State University professor Andrew High. “If users share tracked health information and receive supportive comments, particularly [social] network support, they can improve their health outcomes,” researchers said in an interview with UConn Today.
The Role of Feedback in Health Information Sharing
UConn Today online
The study, “Count Your Calories and Share Them: Health Benefits of sharing mHealth Information on Social Networking Sites,” was led by UConn researchers Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, assistant professor of communication, and John Christensen, associate professor of communication, and their colleague Andrew High, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State University.
Episode 17: A Visit From Miss Connecticut
UConn Podcast radio
This week, we sit down with Bridget Oei ’18 (CLAS), aka Miss Connecticut, and talk about her experience in the Miss America pageant. We also learn from Prof. Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch about how mobile apps can help (or hinder) personal fitness goals, and we find out where we kept all the books before the Homer Babbidge Library was built.
Losing Face on Facebook
UConn Today online
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, assistant professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recently published the study “Face threats, identity, and the audience on Facebook” in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, with colleagues Jeremy Birnholtz of Northwestern University and Jeffrey Hancock of Stanford University. The study showed that something as simple as a Facebook post by a friend can produce strong emotional and nonverbal responses. She spoke with UConn Today about the study.
When posts embarrass: saving face on Facebook
The Vindicator online
“Jeff [Hancock] and Jeremy [Birnholtz] did a survey about how people dealt with being embarrassed by others on social media,” Oeldorf-Hirsch said. “Our study was an extension of that survey, to test the effects of various types of embarrassing posts.”
Thousands obliviously agree to clean port-a-potties for free Wi-Fi
New York Post
"In a study published by communications professors Jonathan Obar of York University and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch of the University of Connecticut, hundreds of college students agreed to giving their future first-born child to a new social network dubbed 'NameDrop,' as outlined in the ignored fine print..."
Click to agree with what? No one reads terms of service, studies confirm
The Guardian online
"Fortunately, NameDrop doesn’t exist. The students were subjects in an experiment run by two communications professors, Jonathan Obar of York University in Toronto and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch of the University of Connecticut. They were confirming, in the lab, what other scholars have found by painstakingly combing data on actual user behavior: nobody reads online contracts, license agreements, terms of service, privacy policies and other agreements. We say we do, with our millions of obedient clicks, but that is, as Obar and Oeldorf-Hirsch wrote last year in their paper about the experiment, 'the biggest lie on the internet...'"
A (Fake, But Still) Terms-of-Service Contract Asked People to Give Up Their Firstborn
New York Magazine online
"Reporting for Morning Edition, NPR’s Shankar Vedantam gives the highlights of the study, which Obar did in collaboration with Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch at the University of Connecticut. The researchers made up a social networking site called it Name Drop (which, kudos — that’s better than the names of many real apps), and asked their study participants to sign up for it. Before they could, though, they’d have to agree to the site’s terms and services. Hidden within this agreement document were two strange requests: Is it cool if we share all your information with the NSA? Oh, also, we’re going to go ahead and take your firstborn child as a form of payment, okay..."
Event Appearances (5)
Kids and teens on social media
Presentation to residents at Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital - 2017 Hartford, CT
Sozialen medien (social media)
Lesson for students at Kirchbergschule - 2018 Bensheim, Germany
How to be a good digital citizen
Assembly presentation to Dolan Middle School - 2018 Stamford, CT
“Liking” headlines: How we engage with and learn from the news on social media
Presentation to UConn alumni at Alumni College, UConn Foundation - 2017 University of Connecticut
Social media’s complex role in our lives
Public talk at Connecticut Science Center’s Beyond the Podium series, Hartford Public Library - 2015 Hartford, CT
Research Grants (2)
Training STEM Graduates to Communicate in the Digital Age, and Measuring Whether It Works
National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
2015-2018 $500,000 Role: Senior Personnel; PI: Rubega
Faculty Research Award
Facebook Research and Academic Relations Program
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, et al.
2018 Twitter has emerged as a key news source, but questions remain about the ethics of relying on it as a source and the implications of such reliance for audience impressions. Two experiments test perceptions of news attributed to Twitter. Study 1 (N = 699) tests the effects of quoting from Twitter and showing actual tweets.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Andrew C. High, John L. Christensen
2018 This study investigates the relationship between sharing tracked mobile health (mHealth) information online, supportive communication, feedback, and health behavior. Based on the Integrated Theory of mHealth, our model asserts that sharing tracked health information on social networking sites benefits users’ perceptions of their health because of the supportive communication they gain from members of their online social networks and that the amount of feedback people receive moderates these associations.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Kristine Novak
2018 An array of communication technology, such as text messaging, social networking sites, and mobile apps, have become the platforms through which many self-disclosures take place. This brings forth questions about which factors determine media selection for self-disclosure, such as media appropriateness and efficiency.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Jeremy Birnholtz, Jeffrey T.Hancock
2017 While Facebook is a popular venue for sharing information about ourselves, it also allows others to share information about us, which can lead to embarrassment. This study investigates the effects of shared face-threatening information on emotional and nonverbal indicators of embarrassment using an experiment (N = 120) in which pairs of friends posted about each other on Facebook.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Rory McGloin
2017 In recent years, several online social campaigns have encouraged individuals to change their Facebook profile pictures for a cause, such as the Human Rights Campaign’s red and pink equal sign in support of same-sex marriage. These “pictivism” campaigns allow individuals to express themselves and participate in a low effort campaign to raise awareness about an issue among their social network.
2017 The growing reliance on social media as news platforms may lead to more passive news consumption but also offers greater potential for engaging in news. This study investigates the role of engagement with news content on Facebook and Twitter between news exposure and current events knowledge.