Alexander Halavais

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Alexander M. Campbell Halavais
Alex Halavais cropped.jpg
Alexander Halavais at the Digital Media and Learning Conference March 4, 2011
Born (1971-07-21)July 21, 1971
Alma mater University of California at Irvine (B.A. Political Science, 1993)
University of Washington (PhD Communications, 2001)
Spouse(s) Jamie
Children Jasper, Kai
Scientific career
Fields Social computing, Computer-mediated communication
Thesis The Slashdot Effect: Analysis of a Large-Scale Public Conversation on the World Wide Web (2001)

Alexander Halavais (born July 21, 1971) is an associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University, a social media researcher and former President[1] of the Association of Internet Researchers. Before joining the faculty at Arizona State University, Halavais taught in the Interactive Media program at Quinnipiac University, the School of Informatics at the University at Buffalo and at the University of Washington.

In 1993, Halavais earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Washington in 2001. His dissertation[2] examined the social implications of the Slashdot website. He also completed coursework in communication and cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego and complex adaptive systems at the Santa Fe Institute.

Online Journalism Review has referred to Halavais as one of a number of "blogologists," exploring the ways in which social computing affects the society at large.[3] His work has explored how blogs are used in education, the patterns of international hyperlinks, the benefits and pitfalls of personal branding,[4] and the role of pornography on the Internet. He is the editor of a volume on cyberporn and society.[5]

In one project, Lackaff and Halavais explored Wikipedia's topical coverage using the Library of Congress Classification to compare Wikipedia's coverage with that of Books in Print.[6]

Halavais was an early proponent of hyperlink analysis and webometrics, and has examined the relationship between national borders and hyperlinks,[7] as well as hyperlinks between US cities.[8] With Maria Garrido, he also looked at the linking patterns among global NGOs and grassroots organizations.[9]

To test Wikipedia as a trustworthy source of accurate information, Halavais created one of the more publicized examples of Wikipedia vandalism. He afterwards dubbed it "The Isuzu Experiment".[10] Halavais altered 13 records in Wikipedia to include spurious information. A number of Wikipedia editors spotted the errors, and quickly corrected the articles.[11]

His most recent book is Search Engine Society.[12] He has more recently spoken about the role of peer to peer surveillance in participatory government.[13]


  1. ^ Election Announcement
  2. ^ Halavais, Alexander, The Slashdot effect : analysis of a large-scale public conversation on the World Wide Web. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 2001.
  3. ^ Glaser, Marc Scholars Discover Weblogs Pass the Test, Online Journalism Review interview with Halavais
  4. ^ Blogging Up - Fast Company interview,
  5. ^ Halavais, Alexander, Cyberporn and Society, Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co., 2006.
  6. ^ Halavais, Alexander; Lackaff, Derek (2008). "An Analysis of Topical Coverage of Wikipedia". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 13 (2): 429–440. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00403.x. 
  7. ^ Halavais, Alexander (2000). "National borders on the World Wide Web". New Media & Society. 2 (1): 7–28. doi:10.1177/14614440022225689. 
  8. ^ Lin, Jia & Halavais, Alexander (2004). Mapping the blogosphere in America. Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem, 13th International World Wide Web Conference. New York.
  9. ^ Garrido, Maria & Halavais, Alexander (2003). Applying social-network analysis to study contemporary social movements. In Martha McCaughey & Michael D. Ayers (Eds.), Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Routledge.
  10. ^ Isuzu Experiment
  11. ^ Early Response to False Claims In Wikipedia, Magnus, P.D., First Monday, Volume 13 Number 9, 1 September 2008
  12. ^ Halavais, Alexander (2009). Search Engine Society. Cambridge: Polity.
  13. ^ Halavais, Alexander (2009). Knowledge Everywhere. Media in Transition Conference, Cambridge, Mass. (pdf)