Stefana Broadbent watches us while we communicate, work and go about our daily lives. She is one of a new class of ethnographers who study the way our social habits and relationships function and mutate in the digital age.

Why you should listen

Stefana Broadbent, a cognitive scientist, has spent decades observing people as they use technology, both at home and at work and everything in between. She looks at the way we use digital channels to forge relationships, to perform our jobs, to engage as citizens, to learn and care for others.

Using traditional and evolving ethnographic practices in her research, now at If You Want To and formerly as Head of Collective Intelligence at NESTA and a Lecturer in Digital Anthropology at University College London, she has made some surprising findings. Did you know, for instance, that the majority of our digital interactions are still with 4 or 5 of our closest ties? Or that one the most significant transformation in our working life has been the possibility of keeping in touch with our loved ones from our workplace?

What others say

“She does not only feed you with plenty of data indicating new trends; she also goes deeper by connecting them to higher-level issues ([such as] cognitive psychology).” — Pasta & Vinegar blog

Stefana Broadbent’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Stefana Broadbent

How the Internet enables intimacy: Stefana Broadbent on

November 2, 2009

We worry that IM, texting, Facebook are spoiling human intimacy, but Stefana Broadbent‘s research shows how communication tech is capable of cultivating deeper relationships, bringing love across barriers like distance and workplace rules. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2009, July 2009, Oxford, UK. Duration: 08:51) Twitter URL: Watch Stefana Broadbent’s talk on, where you can […]

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Stefana Broadbent at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 3

July 22, 2009

Technology anthropologist Stefana Broadbent analyzes how we text, IM and talk. Today, she says these new methods of communication are helping us break out of old institutions and bringing us closer together than ever before. She’s speaking with a backdrop of constantly refreshing, beautiful black and white portraits, always of two people seated together. She […]

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