Shelly Farnham’s Biographical Statement

Shelly Farnham

Shelly D. Farnham, Ph.D.


Shelly D. Farnham, Ph.D. is the founder and Executive Director of Third Place Technologies.  She is a leading expert in community technology R&D, with over fifteen years of experience as a research scientist in world class industry research organizations including Microsoft Research and Yahoo!, and five years experience as a founder and consultant for innovative socio-technical startups.   She founded Third Place Technologies to bring her recent line of work in community technologies to the non-profit sector.

Her areas of expertise include online communities, social networks, identity management, mobile social, and civic media.   In the past several years her work has focused on how to leverage social media and open data to foster civic engagement in local communities, leading to her new role as a social entrepreneur with Third Place Technologies.

Shelly earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 1999, and through her drive to have a real world impact on people’s lives, has worked as an innovation researcher in industry labs and startup organizations.  She brings her expertise in social technology theory, research, and best practices to the design, development, and evaluation of early stage new technologies in the social space.

Shelly’s unique approach integrating creativity, social science, and development skills has led to numerous award winning papers, patents, and startup companies, and frequent appearances in news media.  See her full CV for work history, publications, patents, and statement of research interests and contributions.

Recent Roles

  • Chair: Social Media Expo, iConference (2013-2015).  Helping student teams in Information Schools explore emerging themes in social media.
  • Editor: ACM Interactions Magazine Social Media Forum (2013-2015)
  • Panel Chair: Faculty Summit Panel “Public Networks” (2014)
  • Principle Organizer: SoDApop (2014). SoDApop is an interdisciplinary group of people in the Pacific Northwest exploring new ways to leverage social media, big data, and collective action technologies toward a smarter, better society.  Played a lead role in starting and organizing, in collaboration with faculty form the UW iSchool.
  • Principle Organizer: Arts and Technology Initiative (2014). Organizing a series of events bringing together key people in the region to discuss how we can help foster the growing community of artists/technologists in the Pacific Northwest
  • Works in Progress Co-Chair: CHI (2013-2014)
  • Senior Program Committee: ICWSM (2013)
  • Organizer: Social Researchers Workshop (2013). Internal MSR event bringing together 40 leading social researchers from labs around the world
  • Organizer: Social Media Day Workshop (2013).  Brought together 40 leading social media researchers for one day workshop in conjunction with the MSR Faculty Summit.

Recent Presentations

  • Computer professionals for social responsibility (2014). Levering Social Media for Community Well-being.
  • The iDeans Faculty Summit 3rd Day Event (2014). Social Media and Open Data.
  • Get Mobile Forum by The California Endowment, the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (2014). Community Engagement in the Age of Civic Media
  • Code for America civic hack day (2014). Social Media and Open Data.
  • City of Seattle design week pechakucha (2013). Social Media and Neighborhood Well-being.
  • Faculty Summit (2013). Civic Media.
  • CHI (2013). Analyzing Social Media Systems.  CHI Course with Emre Kiciman.
  • University of Washington, Syracuse University, Michigan University (2013). Analyzing Social Media Systems.
  • Seattle Ignite (2012). Why I Hate Facebook.
  • Social Computing Symposium (2012). When the World is a Classroom.
Recent Prototyping Projects
  • BrinkNW: An initiative exploring how to foster a community of innovation at the intersection of art and technology in the Pacific Northwest.  See related paper:
  • Whooly:  A mobile web app that makes latent, hyperlocal neighborhood communities more visible, to help neighbors connect. This project leverages intelligent filters and event detection algorithms to help users find relevant, spiking topics about what is happening here and now.  See related paper: Facilitating Information Seeking For Hyperlocal Communities Using Social Media
Recent Publications

See her full CV for a complete list of papers, patents, .