Skip to content

Alexandra Samuel

Alexandra Samuel is a technology writer, researcher and speaker. She is the author of Work Smarter with Social Media (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015), and is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal. Alex holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University and a B.A. from Oberlin College. You can find her on Twitter as @awsamuel and on her own site, alexandrasamuel.com.

A grid of people talking animatedly on their cell phones

To Save Civilization, Hang Up Your Phone

It's uniquely annoying to listen to one side of someone else's cellphone call. Our technology columnist examines why that is.
A futuristic view of air travel over Paris as people leave the Opera.

Can Science Fiction Predict the Future of Technology?

Science fiction isn’t limited to predicting tech developments: It’s more broadly concerned with imagining possible futures, or alternative presents.
An elderly man typing on a laptop

To Fight Fake News, Broaden Your Social Circle

Fake news is spread through online communities that become echo-chambers of like-minded ideas. What's your online community like?
A man on a laptop

Making Men Online

How the internet has both reinforced and tweaked traditional gender pathologies, especially for boys and men.
A computer screen reflected in glasses

To Cope with Digital Distraction, Embrace Digital Neurodiversity

The internet is changing our brains. Our columnist suggests that maybe this isn't such a bad thing.
The U.S. Capitol Building at night

Has the Internet Weakened Our Political Institutions?

According to our columnist, the internet has destabilized many of the informal institutions that underpin our democracy.
Man Using Phone In Darkroom

Is Media Piracy a Form of White Privilege?

How users feel about illegal downloading may have a lot to do with privilege.
Forgiveness flower

The Future of Forgiveness Is Online

When our flame wars, insensitive Facebook comments, and rude texts are catalogued online indefinitely, can we still forgive and forget?
My Body My Choice graffiti

What Roe v. Wade Means for Internet Privacy

Roe v. Wade left Americans with the idea that privacy is something we can expect as citizens. But does the SCOTUS consider privacy a constitutional right?
Homura Akemi fandom

3 Questions to Ask About Online Fandom (and Teen Fans)

The internet has played a large role in fostering intense fan communities. But are these high-octane, super-specific interests healthy? Or...interesting?
Mechanical Turk

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has Reinvented Research

Online services like Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" have ushered in a golden age in survey research. But is it ethical for researchers to use them?
Congress internet facebook

What Congress Should Know About the Internet

Facebook's privacy and ad preferences settings are a privacy placebo: they trick us into feeling a little better, but they don't treat the underlying disease.
Deleting Facebook

Why Deleting Facebook isn’t the Answer to Data-Driven Targeting

We have to become smarter news and advertising consumers, and learn to resist the unceasing stream of slanted messages that come our way.
Newspaper boxes

To Save Congress, Restore Local News

Since Donald Trump was elected, national news stories dominate our attention and our social media feeds—at the expense of local news.
Teenagers texting

What Parkland Tells us About Teens and Social Media

While America’s parents have been wringing their hands over online safety, kids have steadily taken to social media, smartphones, and other digitally-enabled technologies to seek and promote their physical safety.
Email friendship

How Facebook Revived the Epistolary Friendship

Would today's online, social media-based friendships look familiar to the letter-writing friends of earlier centuries, when epistolary friendships were also common?
Selfie in Paris

What to Do When Social Media Inspires Envy

In the case of envy, social media works in three closely related ways: by increasing proximity, by eliminating encapsulation and by rejecting concealment.
Dating algorithm

How to Build the Netflix of Love

There's no shortage of online dating sites and apps. But there’s one common problem with these services: they’re all looking at the wrong data. Dating apps should take a hint from Netflix's algorithm.
Woman using computer in the 1970s

Better Writing Begins with the Right Tools

Word processing software has not only changed the way we write; it's changed the way we read. It pays to think about what we want from our writing tools.
Online distress

The Internet Needs a “Handle With Care” Protocol

Emotion can be difficult to parse online. Why not adopt a common protocol that lets our fellow internet citizens know our emotional state?
technology gift

What Gift-Giving Research Tells Us About Giving Tech Gadgets

Whatever the gift, it’s worth stopping to think about how much we really want to entangle our gift-giving with the digital realm.
Charlie Rose Louis C.K. Kevin Spacey

#MeToo and the New Era of Internet Celebrity

We may want to support the #MeToo victims, but many of us also feel allegiance to our favorite celebrity. And the internet is at the heart of that dynamic.
Librarian computer lab

How Librarians Can Be Digital Mentors for Teens

The role of librarians, archivists, media trainers, and other information professionals in fostering a healthy digital world for the next generation.
speech bubbles me too

Finding the Words We Need to Talk About Sexual Assault and Harassment

"Me too." As the conversation around sexual assault has spread, it's become clear that not everybody is prepared to talk about such a difficult issue.
Facebook Thumbs Down

Can We Build a Better Facebook?

Is it time to turn our back on Facebook? And if so, what social network could possibly replace it?