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Grant Blank

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I am a sociologist who studies the social and cultural impact of the Internet. The Internet is one of the most important innovations to emerge in the past half century. It is causing wide changes in British society and culture. I use data from the Oxford Internet Survey to understand how the Internet changes the way we work, play, form relationships, and communicate with each other.

I was always interested in computers and I was drawn to study the Internet as it emerged in the 1990s. I wrote my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago on how evaluations of cultural objects (like books or movies) and products (like clothes or computers) are increasingly important due to the Internet. Since coming to Oxford my work is on how different people use the Internet in different ways. For example, less educated people tend to use the Internet more for entertainment; more educated people tend to use the Internet more for politics and information. Recently I worked with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on digital inclusion - how to get more people to use the Internet.

Read the Oxford Internet Survey blog here.

Wednesday 20th May 2020, 12.30pm

How tricky is it to make a COVID-19 tracing app?

As we search for a way out of the global coronavirus crisis, there’s been plenty of discussion surrounding a potential COVID-19 tracing app. Many of us carry a mobile phone with us wherever we go, so it seems logical to use this pre-existing infrastructure in the transition towards a ‘new normal’. But how tricky is it to make such an app? What’s more, what challenges must be overcome for it to...

Network of phones cartoon.