SOCKS will advance initiatives grounded in principled methods through the quantitative measurement of sentiment and stories across a diverse portfolio of corpora. It will also provide new insights into the power and use of stories and narratives across a broad array of social, economic and health domains through integrated data and teams.
In astronomy and biology, the telescope and the microscope helped us describe phenomena far beyond our limitations, opening up vast new scientific realms. With the SOCKS program, we’re working to do the same for stories by building and refining instruments that can ‘distantly read’ and make sense of enormous collections of texts, whether they be libraries of books, streaming social media, or Vermont folktales from the 1800s. We need to understand how stories evolve and spread, the effects stories have on populations, and with SOCKS, we will help grow a measurement-first science of stories.
Stories are an essential part of how people comprehend, explain, predict, and seek to navigate the world. What are the fundamental kinds of stories? How do stories told through social networks influence our behavior? A powerful approach to quantifying the components of stories centers on enumerating the base units of n-grams—contiguous sequences of n words, including punctuation and other text elements in a body of writing—and how usages of and interactions between n-grams unfold over time.
We will host our kickoff strategic planning meeting in August of 2023, and planning to run workshops on the Science of Stories at UVM and the Santa Fe Institute in 2024.
We will be hiring tenure track academic positions with a focus on Computational Social Science, Digital Humanities, and Data Ethics with position announcements in Fall 2023 and 2024. We’ll also be hiring staff with a background in Data Science, Web Development, and Data Engineering. Formal position announcements are coming soon.