Main Page


Brief Bio

I publish under the name Howard T. Welser, but I go by both Howard Welser and Ted Welser.  I am an associate professor in the
 Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio University in Athens Ohio.  I have taught several courses at OU, which are listed individually at left.  Links for my most current courses are also on my teaching page.  My research page provides an overview of my research goals and a thematic organization of references and PDFs of my publications.   Here is a recent version of my CV.

I received a Bachelor of Philosophy from the Western College Program at Miami University.  I was an aspiring ceramic artist and rock climber.  I also worked for several years at the Outdoor Pursuit Center.  

After working for a few years in the indoor climbing industry, and an enjoyable stint in Seattle for graduate school (University of Washington, Sociology), I have returned to Ohio.  Although I grew up in Kent, Athens feels very much like home, and I enjoy the many benefits of a strong small town community.  I am a big fan of the Athens Farmers Market and the hiking and recreation opportunities nearby.

Contributing to specialized communities is central to my life work, both personally and academically.  I contribute to the Athens Bouldering group on Facebook, host climbing events at the Dojo, and participate in a climbing training forum organized through the blog of the Rock Climbing Training ManualI have contributed to a couple of blogs, most recently I have written about climbing and training at  Bouldering in Athens County .  I participate in The Fireflies, a recreational soccer team in Athens Community Soccer.   I also have worked to develop community around Futsal, and have organized family futsal as well as a late night futsal league.  Check out our FB page and blog!

Before coming to Ohio University I worked as a post doc at Cornell University with the Institute for the Social Sciences, where I developed some of my research interests, met several good colleagues and friends, and cultivated my interest in poker. 

Recent events

In May of 2015 I visited Slovenia and the University of Ljubljana to meet with researchers and students, discuss social media and social networks, consider how to break the Iron Law of Oligarchy, enjoy enlightening conversation, and build professional connections.  In classes we will experience crowd sourced writing, discuss why reality is broken, and explore social roles in systems of computer mediated interaction.

For this opportunity I thank professor Gregor Petrič and other members of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana.  

My visit began with cycling around Ljubljana. 

My first academic event was presenting a talk about how digital institutions can break the Iron Law of Oligarchy through distributed systems of monitoring and control.  I used a version of these slides during my presentation.

I taught two class sessions.  In our first classroom exercise we Crowdsourced a summary of a reading from "Reality is Broken"
Slides 1  In our second classroom exercise we used NodeXL to collect a sample of related videos from Youtube, and then performed a basic content analysis of the minecraft videos and conversations in the comment section. We used these instructions

Recorded our coded observations on this video coding spreadsheet

We generated an interesting network visualization, and learned about how language barriers can shape networks online.  In particular, the subgroup on the far right are in German, I believe, while those in the center are in English.  The subgroup in between is as a context where multi lingual participants contribute in English with other English speakers.


My research page provides an overview of my research goals and a thematic organization of references and PDFs of my publications. In brief, my research investigates the connections between social circumstances, individual actors, social structure, and collective outcomes. I am interested in the social implications of technological change and in studying social dynamics using data collected from online communities of different sorts. I am especially interested in discovering evidence for ways that participation in new social media may be changing how people interact and what we are like. I seek to cultivate contacts with researchers around the globe who share these interests.

 I am always interested to learn about new research on  online community, sociological theory, social networks, collective action, research methods, diffusion of innovations, social change, norms, and social roles.   I have discussed some of these issues with writers for local and larger audiences: the anonymous protest movement,  chatroullette1chatroullette2, and measuring social roles online.  Dr. Sorin Matei wrote a favorable review of our roles work and offered some insightful observations about how systematic role identification can enhance our understanding of distributed collaboration systems like Wikipedia. 

Here are my current publications according to Google Scholar, including links to the original publications.  

Current Teaching

My research fellowship included the academic year of 2015-2016.  During that time I worked on two major community outreach projects and my writing and research work. I am returning to teaching courses in research methods for the Autumn of 2016.     

Advising resources

My advising page summarizes the primary advising resources that I have assembled for my students.   It includes information on registering for courses, career planning, internships, and the construction of resumes and professional profiles.  Take a look at the advising page here.