Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has named Itai Himelboim the Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Analytics. Himelboim is an associate professor of advertising and director of the SEE Suite, the Social media Engagement & Evaluation lab.
“Dr. Himelboim, one of the world’s leading experts on social media analysis, will take the Media Analytics program at Grady College to new heights as the Thomas C. Dowden Professor,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “The demand for students trained in media analytics grows daily, and we’re listening to industry demand in expanding our work in the field.”
As Dowden Professor, Himelboim will direct research on social, political and economic issues involving media, and social media in particular. These subjects align closely with his areas of study and teaching, which focus on the role that social media, including Twitter and Facebook, plays in news, politics and international communication. Applying network analysis, Himelboim examines the network structures that are formed when users interact on social media, including the emergence of information echo chambers and the diffusion of content within and across these communication silos. His work also studies influential users, emerging communities and the impact that news media plays in these interpersonal communication spaces.
“In this big data era, media analytics is more important than ever for students, faculty and the industry,” Himelboim said. “I am thrilled and humbled to hold the Thomas C. Dowden Professorship in Media Analytics, and I look forward to continuing the work of making Grady College a leader in media analytics research and education.”
Himelboim joined Grady College in 2008 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including “Social Media Analytics, Listening & Engagement,” “Network Analysis of Social Media” and “Insights & Analytics,” among other courses.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Himelboim also directs the SEE Suite, overseeing the analytics lab where students examine large, cross-platform social media data through a variety of software, like Crimson Hexagon.
He is a prolific contributor to academic journals including the “Journal of Political Marketing,” “Computers in Human Behavior,” “Social Media + Society,” “Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly,” “Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication” and “Communication Research,” among others. He is also a co-author of the forthcoming book, “Analyzing social media networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world (2nd edition)”.
Himelboim frequently speaks at international conferences and universities, as well. Some of his recent talks include “Social Media Analytics for Communication and Marketing: From Big Data to Actionable Insights” at National Chengchi University in Taiwan, the workshop “Network analysis of social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and semantic networks” at Hong Kong City University, “A Network Approach to Viral Advertising: The role of traditional influencers, new influencers and low-influencers,” at the American Academy of Advertising conference in New York, and “Understanding Social Media Conversations via Clusters in Social and Semantic Networks” at the University of Amsterdam.
.Himelboim earned his doctorate degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota. He has a master’s degree in political communication and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tel Aviv University.
The Dowden professorship was created in 2007.
“While the original goal of the Dowden professorship was to explore the emergence of new media, the growing emphasis on media research and analytics is a new and important discipline in the field,” Dowden said of the new appointment. “I look forward to Itai’s involvement and contributions in this area under the aegis of the Dowden professorship.”
Dowden, a Grady College and UGA alumnus (ABJ ‘62; MA ‘64 in political science), is a pioneer in the cable industry, as well as founder and director of Dowden Communications. He is an emeritus chairman and member of the Peabody Board and emeritus UGA Foundation trustee. He received Grady’s John Holliman Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1990. He has been a generous supporter of the college, and has been committed to the development of the Graduate Certificate in Analytics program, with its focus on audience research and media innovation.
Ann Hollifield, who retired in January 2019, was the inaugural Dowden Professor.