Amy Adele Hasinoff studies media and culture to investigate how we interact with the onslaught of new media and how it affects the way we develop, use, and regulate communication technologies. She’s the author of Sexting Panic, a look at the well-intentioned but problematic responses to sexting in mass media, law, and education.

A speaker at our previous Make + Believe event, Amy’s research appears in journals like New Media & Society, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and Feminist Media Studies. Here we talk about the continuing swell of the Internet and guilt-free reality TV.


What is the most impactful development the world has seen to facilitate communication in recent years?

The development of the Internet has probably had the most impact, and it hasn’t even been around for very long. In 1995, only 1% of the world’s population had Internet access, but in 2016, it’s already getting close to 50%. From online shopping to social movements, we’ve seen a lot of new developments, and there’s still a lot more potential. We also are just beginning to figure out how to deal with some of the drawbacks and problems we see with the Internet.

What communication regulation doesn’t currently exist that you would like to see in place?

We need better privacy protections. Our laws and policies have not yet caught up to new developments in communication technologies—we generate a lot of personal digital data when we use a mobile phone or the internet. So there are a lot of questions we need to answer: How should law enforcement and the National Security Agency be able to collect and use your personal information? Should internet service providers be able to track your activities online? If someone you know maliciously violates your privacy, how should we address that?

How can members of the TEDxMileHigh community better communicate with each other?

People often want to know how to be more persuasive when they communicate. But we also should be asking things like: How can we get better at listening to other people? How can our communication be more ethical?

Do you have a favorite TED talk?

Toni Mac: “The laws that sex workers really want.”

What’s something few people know about you?

I love television, even reality TV. And I don’t even feel guilty about it!

What’s the last thing that made you laugh uncontrollably?

Watching UnREAL, a TV show on Lifetime. It’s a scripted dark comedy about the producers and editors working on a program like The Bachelor.

When did you last make time for make-believe?

The last time I saw my nieces. We all pretended to be dragons!