Jennifer M. Grygiel
Assistant Professor Communications (Social Media) & Magazine, News and Digital Journalism
Preferred Pronouns: They/They
MSNBC – Ali Velsi
Jennifer Grygiel* is a social media professional who most recently served as social business and emerging media manager and assistant vice president at State Street Corporation in Boston. There, they developed a social listening and marketing data and analytics program and was the lead project manager for the Social Intranet Project, which received an IABC Gold Quill Merit Award. Grygiel’s social listening work has also been recognized and received a Gold Wommy for Social Media Monitoring Implementation from Womma (Word of Mouth Marketing Association).
Over the course of their career they served as the executive director for public affairs and communications and chief of staff at the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the regulation of financial markets. Grygiel has also worked at the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School and is the founder of No Gay Left Behind, which advocates for the development of virtual gay-straight alliances (VGSAs) via social media.
Grygiel’s research has been presented at top national and international conferences including the International Communication Association (ICA), the National Communication Association (NCA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), ETHICOMP, and others. In 2019, a paper they co-authored was recognized with the Top Paper Award in the 2019 ICA Communication Law & Policy Division’s research paper competition. Grygiel has also co-authored research on social media content moderation in the Journal of Telecommunications Policy and had their work related to state-funded media serve as the basis of oversight investigations by both the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In 2016, Grygiel took first place in the Best Practices in Ethics in an Emerging Media Environment teaching competition, sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Elected Committee on Teaching and launched a new innovative course in partnership with Buzzfeed, which teaches future media skills to Newhouse undergraduate and graduate students.
Grygiel has also contributed op-eds in leading publications such as The New York Times, Fortune, Teen Vogue, Fast Company, and written about presidential use of social media in the new book “Trump Tweets, the World Reacts” (Roman & Littlefield, 2018).
Top media outlets have interviewed Grygiel, including: Financial Times, CNN Money, “MSNBC Live” with Katy Tur, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt,” USA Today, Axios, CBS, BBC, CNET, NPR’s “1A,” Wired Magazine, Money Magazine, Forbes, Jezebel, Bustle, AP, and Reuters. Grygiel has also contributed research at The Guardian, appeared as a Facebook expert for Viceland’s docuseries The Hustle, and was featured in Cal Newport’s latest book Digital Minimalism.
They earned a bachelor’s in art and education from St. Lawrence University and completed the graduate program in management with a concentration in finance and control from Harvard Extension School.
Areas of interest include: social media; emerging media; state media; disinformation; civic media; memes; corporate social responsibility; content moderation; media regulation, trust and safety; privacy; police media; social justice; LGBTQ youth advocacy; and race, gender and society
Stocks: given my area of expertise, and interest in participating in corporate governance via proxy voting, I have less than 150 shares in each of the following publicly listed companies: FB, GOOG, TWTR, BABA, LNKD, YY, and SNAP. I own nominal amounts of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.
For more information, please my about page.
Grygiel is a featured guest on CBS News. A full list of media commentary can be found here.
NBC Nightly News
Facebook, Twitter, Google Face More Criticism Over Bullying, Fake News
New York Times
The Left Shouldn’t Be Too Proud to Meme
Why Did Facebook Promote Fake News About the Las Vegas Massacre?
Twitter Needs to Monitor Trump’s Tweets
Twitter Needs to Monitor Trump’s Tweets
Select Press Interviews
What’s on your mind, Facebook user?
How Russia “Pushed Our Buttons” With Fake Online Ads
The ads did not look like the products of Madison Avenue. Rather, they camouflaged themselves in the vernacular of the Internet. Jennifer Grygiel, a communications professor at Syracuse University who teaches about memes, thinks the low-budget look is an engagement strategy. They want to make it appear as though the ads “could have been created by your average American. They don’t want glossy high production.” Grygiel said that ads from the LGBT United group reminded her of events she’s been involved in. The ad was plastered with rainbows and tells Facebook users, “I’m just really excited to go out and protest the Westboro Church!”
Grygiel also noticed the use of iconography like cowboys, American flags, and women in burqas in that Heart of Texas ad. “It was almost distilled to the point of it being pop art,” she says. “Essentially what they’re doing with some of these memes is like a culture mash. It’s almost like re-mixing American culture and in this case some American fears.”
Wall Street Journal
Social-Media Companies Forced to Confront Misinformation and Harassment
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post on Saturday played down the impact of fake news, while also saying that his company is developing tools to curb it, including one that would allow users to flag news that they believe is fake.
But Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Grygiel, who studies social media, said relying on users is inadequate. Instead, she said Facebook should hire more workers to review widely shared articles and remove those that are false.
“What he needs to do is hire more humans instead of pushing (the responsibility) onto the end user,” Ms. Grygiel said. “Know how much the community is trained in identifying fake news? Zilch.”
Wall Street Journal
Fake Content Puts Pressure on Facebook, Google
In his Saturday post, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook is developing tools to curb fake news, including one that would allow users to flag news that they believe is fake.
Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Grygiel said relying on users is inadequate. She said Mr. Zuckerberg should hire more workers to review widely shared articles and remove those that are false.
How Facebook can influence the news, not just share it
“Nothing says you shouldn’t inject certain topics,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a communications professor at Syracuse University who specializes in social media. “Journalism certainly isn’t just what people are talking about the most; it’s what people need to know. So, sure, inject topics. But be transparent if you do.”
BBC World News
Cash for catastrophes?
“When you get a lot of eyeballs on something, you get a lot of money. But there’s been no talk of what would be just and fair in the world, and would be good for us to do as people,” says Jennifer Grygiel, Assistant Professor of Communications at Syracuse University.
“I think it’s an ethical discussion we should be having at this point given how many instances we’ve seen out there now. I would say it’s never right to monetise tragedy.”
Regarding the Pain of Terrence Sterling
Grygiel studies the way police departments are creating what Grygiel terms “state–sponsored media,” apart from the free press. Grygiel points out that on September 11, hours after Sterling was killed, the D.C. Police Department released a Facebook video featuring Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham discussing the case in “an interview style” with an “interviewer” who was unidentified, but apparently filming specifically for the PD’s Facebook page. The effect had the appearance of a media interview or press conference, even though the questions seemed skewed to the advantage of the PD, without the probing that would normally come from a reporter—which, perhaps, led to an inherent bias in the way Sterling has been depicted. “[Newsham’s] description of [Sterling’s] driving as ‘erratic’ just jumps off the page,” Grygiel says. “It’s just sitting there for the public to see, and then the press embeds that video but that description doesn’t go away. They are controlling the dissemination of their media… [and] really starting to… [potentially] impact people’s right to due process, and potentially tainting the jury pool.”
Twitter accused of political bias in right-wing crackdown
In the tense aftermath of the election, Twitter may be even less effective at cracking down on abusive behavior anywhere on the political spectrum, said Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Grygiel, who studies social media.
“Everyone is blowing up their phones,” Grygiel said. “The Twitter moderation queue must be off the hook.”
Will Twitter get a Trump bump? Don’t count on it
“If anything, when he’s in power, the frequency could increase, making Twitter an even more important platform,” said Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Grygiel, who studies social media. “You could see more users joining it to get updates about the government.”