Sara M. Watson is a technology critic and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Her work explores how people are learning to live with, understand, and interpret data. Sara is interested in the interactions between users, data and algorithms, and the internet platforms that mediate and govern digital experiences. She aims to uncover the ways that corporations, governments, and individuals use data from wearable sensors, the internet of things, and other digitally processed systems. And she examines and influences public discourse on technological change in popular culture. Sara’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, Wired, Harvard Business Review, and Slate.
At Berkman, Sara contributes to the Center’s internet health data initiatives. She spearheads Berkman’s Study Group program and convenes a number of discussion groups, including Tech Book Club and Angry Tech Salon. She is also a Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP) Fellow.
Sara has previously worked as an enterprise technology analyst at The Research Board (Gartner, Inc.), exploring implications of technological trends for Fortune 500 CIOs. She consults with organizations such as Crimson Hexagon, Brightcove, and The World Economic Forum on data practices and policies.
Sara holds an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet with distinction from the Oxford Internet Institute, where her award winning thesis examined the personal data interests of the Quantified Self community. She graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude with a joint degree in English and American Literature and Film Studies. Her disciplinary influences include media studies, science and technology studies, anthropology, and literature.
Living with Data Series, Al Jazeera America
Stepping Down: Rethinking the Fitness Tracker, The Atlantic
Constructive Technology Criticism, Berkman Center
I'm currently based in Cambridge, MA, but planning a move to Singapore this summer. I tweet. I co-host the Mindful Cyborgs podcast. I sometimes collect mediology. I post pictures on flickr and Instagram. I review books on Goodreads and I run a Tech Book Club in Cambridge, MA. I hang out with some scientists and writers at Neuwrite. I lived in Chongqing for a year. I'm married to the brilliant and intrepid Nick R. Smith. And I like emoji, karaoke, and making lists.