My research program explores the connections between media consumption and the surrounding social, technical and institutional contexts. I focus on two related areas.

1)  Digital Media and Audience behavior  . Methodologically, these projects blend social network analysis with traditional regression methods

Empirical Focus:

A) Global Web Use: In these series of papers  I have focused on how users shape the web into a variety of  regional cultures and how this vision of the web is very different from what one “sees” when looking merely at its technical architectures

Journal Articles so far from this line of work

  1.  Harsh Taneja.(2017) Mapping an Audience Centric World Wide Web: A Departure from Hyperlink Analysis.New Media& Society, Volume 19 Issue 9, Pages 1331-1348.
  2. Harsh Taneja, James G. Webster; How Do Global Audiences Take Shape? The Role of Institutions and Culture in Patterns of Web Use, Journal of Communication, Volume 66, Issue 1, 1 February 2016, Pages 161–182,
  3. Angela Xiao Wu, Harsh Taneja; Reimagining Internet Geographies: A User-Centric Ethnological Mapping of the World Wide Web, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 21, Issue 3, 1 May 2016, Pages 230–246, [ Equal Authorship]
  4. Webster, James G., and Harsh Taneja. “Building and Interpreting Audience Networks: A Response to Mukerjee, Majo-Vazquez & Gonzalez-Bailon.” Journal of Communication 68, no. 3 (2018): E11-E14.
  5. Harsh Taneja & Angela Xiao Wu (2014) Does the Great Firewall Really Isolate the Chinese? Integrating Access Blockage With Cultural Factors to Explain Web User Behavior, The Information Society, 30:5, 297-309, doi:10.1080/01972243.2014.944728 [ Equal  Authorship]

This line of work has featured in the Washington Post,  The Conversation, The Wire and I have won several awards for this research from ICA,  NCA, AEJMC and ACM Web Science.

B) Digital Media Use in the US: In this series of papers I analyze the behavior of online audiences in the US focusing on the role of context rather than users’ motivations in explaining online audience behavior of people in the US.

Journal Articles so far

  1. Nelson, Jacob L., and Harsh Taneja. “The small, disloyal fake news audience: The role of audience availability in fake news consumption.” New Media & Society (2018): 1461444818758715.
    • This paper  empirically estimates the Fake News audiences in the US and find that they are a small subset of heavy Internet users, who are more likely to access any obscure content, not just fake news.
  2. Taneja, Harsh, Angela Xiao Wu, and Stephanie Edgerly. “Rethinking the generational gap in online news use: An infrastructural perspective.” New Media & Society 20, no. 5 (2018): 1792-1812.
    • This paper demonstrates that Millennials and Boomers in the US are quite similar in their online news behavior, contrary to popular understanding.
  3. Taneja, Harsh, James G. Webster, Edward C. Malthouse, and Thomas B. Ksiazek. “Media consumption across platforms: Identifying user-defined repertoires.” New media & society 14, no. 6 (2012): 951-968.
    • One of the first studies to analyze passively recorded observational cross media usage;  500 people were followed throughout the day and observed every 10 seconds, noting their media use, social activity and location.
  4. Taneja, Harsh, and Vijay Viswanathan. “Still glued to the box? Television viewing explained in a multi-platform age integrating individual and situational predictors.” International Journal of Communication 8 (2014): 26.
    • Analyzing passively observed media use of 500 people every 10 seconds, we explain factors driving live television viewing even when people have access to multiple platforms.

2) Changing audience measurement practices (media economics and management). This research stream relies on qualitative analysis of media industry texts such as the trade press.

Articles so far

  1. Taneja, Harsh. “Using commercial audience measurement data in academic research.” Communication Methods and Measures 10, no. 2-3 (2016): 176-178.
    • In this article I explain how audience measurement data collected for commercial purposes can be used for theoretically informed academic research and provide better alternatives to self-reported media use.
  2. Taneja, Harsh. “Audience measurement and media fragmentation: Revisiting the monopoly question.” Journal of Media Economics 26, no. 4 (2013): 203-219.
    • Here I argue that despite its “currency status”, audience measurement systems such as Nielsen ratings do not always have a monopoly status. Given the fragmentation in media use, I demonstrate that a market can afford multiple such currencies, that cater to distinct institutional interests.
  3. Webster, James G., and Harsh Taneja. “Media exposure measurement.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Communication. Oxford University Press, 2015.
    • This encyclopedia entry reviews the (then) extant literature on commercial audience measurement as well as approaches to measure media exposure.
  4. Taneja, Harsh, and Utsav Mamoria. “Measuring media use across platforms: Evolving audience information systems.” International Journal on Media Management 14, no. 2 (2012): 121-140.
    • This article evaluates the usage of single source (cross platform) audience measurement and its status as currency, in five national media markets spread across Asia, Europe & North America.
  5. Chung, Surin, and Harsh Taneja. “Reassessment of Audience in Public Relations Industry: How Social Media Reshape Public Relations Measurements.” Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal 17, no. 1 (2016): 60-77.
    • Here we investigate how the visibility of social media metrics has helped reshape the notion of audience measurement within the Public Relations industry.