SONIC Summer Lab Meeting

Another successful summer lab meeting in the books! SONIC had the second lab meeting of the summer today and we were so glad to see so many familiar faces over zoom. There were many big announcements during this meeting as well as exciting plans for this upcoming fall when we will hopefully be in person as much as possible!

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SONIC Summer Lab Meeting

Screenshot of virtual lab meeting
It was so great to see so many familiar faces virtually for SONIC’s second lab meeting of the summer! While we are virtual for now, we are hoping to be able to meet in person at some point during the academic year, which will be the first time some of us see each other face to face!

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Contractor Awarded the 2022 Simmel Award

Congratulations to SONIC Director Noshir Contractor for winning the 2022 Simmel Award, awarded to the keynote speaker at the Sunbelt Social Networks Conference! This award is named for Georg Simmel (1858-1918), a German sociologist who was a pioneer in social structures and social network analysis research. We are very much looking forward to hearing Dr. Contractor’s presentation and attending the conference this July in Cairns, Australia! More information on this award and past recipients can be found here:

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Spotlight Panel at the ACM Web Science Conference 2021

Today (06/25) marks the final day of the 2021 ACM Web Science Conference. Professor Noshir Contractor closed the spotlight panel entitled The Future of the Web and Society, continuing on the conference’s theme of Globalization, Inclusion, and the Web in the Context of Covid. Check out this screenshot of the panel below and thank you to everyone who participated this year!

Screenshot of the spotlight panel

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Thank you to everyone who participated in The Near Future of Work Workshop at #WebSci21 ~

On Tuesday (06/22), our team organized a workshop at the 13th ACM Web Science Conference 2021. The workshop titled The Near Future of Work: Supporting Digital and Remote Collaboration in COVID and Beyond features notable thought leaders, including Ethan Bernstein from Harvard Business School, Paul Leonardi from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Balazs Vedres from the University of Oxford, Oshani Seneviratne from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Nancy Baym from Microsoft Research. The workshop was a tremendous success, and we’d like to give a huge shoutout to our amazing SONIC organizers: Jasmine Wu, Brennan Antone, and Noshir Contractor.

Catch a glimpse of the workshop from last Tuesday below.

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Join Us Tomorrow at The Near Future of Work Workshop at #WebSci21

We’re excited for The Near Future of Work Workshop at #Websci21 ACM Web Science Conference Tomorow (June 22, 4PM UK Time // 11 AM Eastern Time)!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to listen to Ethan Bernstein from Harvard Business School, Paul Leonardi from University of California, Santa Barbara, Balázs Verdes from Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Nancy Baym from Microsoft Research, & Oshani Seneviratne from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute!

Workshop Information:

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us an opportunity to participate in a global “beta-test” of Web-only based remote work. No web scientist could have conceived that we would have this “opportunity” to reimagine the Future of Work. Individuals around the world have switched to work-from-home or work-from-anywhere arrangements and rely on digital tools to support teamwork. This workforce must contend with challenges they did not encounter in face-to-face jobs, but also have benefited from new opportunities created by digital technologies.

The impacts of Web-based work reverberate all the way from the psychological states of workers (including burnout), their teaming processes and outcomes, sociological concerns (such as work-life balance), economic issues (related to labor rights in the gig economy), to geopolitical concerns (such as data privacy and protection, effects on carbon footprint).  The workshop will reflect on the changing nature of work across all of these levels, identify factors that explain these changes, and how we can learn from the “new” normal to prepare for a better “next” normal. By doing so this workshop seeks to facilitate multidisciplinary dialog and research examining challenges and opportunities stemming from digital and remote work on the Web. Topics relevant to this workshop include, but are not limited to: remote work, virtual teaming, enterprise social media (ESM), computer-supported cooperative work, digital platforms, human-AI teaming, work in the gig economy, crowdsourced labor, work-life balance in the digital age, the well-being of remote workers, and workplace communication technology. We especially encourage findings about remote work and digital collaboration that are relevant in the aftermath of COVID-19 (but not necessarily relying on COVID-19 related data).

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Contractor, speaker at the Business Advisory Council Meeting!

Last Friday, Professor Noshir Contractor presented at the Busines Advisory Council Meeting of the Northwestern University Transportation Center. The title of his presentation is The NExt Normal for Teaming: Transitioning Out of COVID-19. 

Note that NUTC’s Business Advisory Council (BAC) is comprised of senior-level executives representing all modes of transportation including shipper and carrier firms, freight forwarders and third party logistics providers, financial institutions, consulting firms, and trade associations.


Contractor, N. (2021, June). The Next Normal for Teaming: Transitioning Out of COVID-19. Speaker at the Business Advisory Council Meeting of the Northwestern University Transportation Center, Evanston, IL. 


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Congratulations, graduate!

Graduation weekend finally arrived after one of the most challenging years so far (yes, we’re referring to the pandemic) — and we’d love to celebrate the exciting achievements of all our SONIC members!

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our seniors — Arshya Srinivas, Aryaman Gupta, Chiagozie Anyanwu, Lauren Tran, Louis Ingram, Othman Muhammad, Selena Rita Suarez, Victoria Kam! We are extremely thrilled with all of the work you’ve done during your time at SONIC and Northwestern University.

We also want to extend a special shoutout to our data science intern Arshya Srinivas for winning the IEMS Department Award! We are very lucky to have you as one of our interns, and we’re incredibly excited to announce that she’ll be joining SONIC for another year as a full-time staff member.

We also want to CONGRATULATE Diego Gómez Zará, our PhD Student who received his Master of Science in Technology and Social Behavior last weekend.


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