Aaron Smith is director of Data Labs at Pew Research Center. Much of his recent research focuses on the impact of technology on workforce and economic issues, Americans’ attitudes towards the sharing and gig economy, and the potential impact of advancements in workforce automation. He has also conducted studies examining the impact of the digital divide and the growing role of mobile devices in Americans’ digital access habits, the importance of technology to special populations such as older adults, and the role of digital platforms in connecting Americans to political and civic information. He has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin. Smith has testified before Congress and conducts regular briefings and media interviews on the Center’s technology research.
In recent years, several new options have emerged in the social media universe, many of which explicitly present themselves as alternatives to more established social media platforms. Free speech ideals and heated political themes prevail on these sites, which draw praise from their users and skepticism from other Americans.