Julie Albright

Email albright@usc.edu Office RTH 311 Office Phone (310) 740-2957

Research & Practice Areas

human/digital interaction, technology adoption; impact of the Internet and communication technologies on human behavior; crossover over of digital to “real” world; social media; digital transformation

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Center for Energy Informatics, Viterbi School of Engineering, Affiliated Faculty
  • eHarmony, Research Consultant


My research has focused on the impact of  technology on society, and the emergence of social media and digital culture. I was the Project Lead on the Behavioral Component of the $121 million Smart Grid Demonstration Project with LADWP, USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI), the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and UCLA, where I created the preliminary design for a large scale behavioral and digital technology energy study. Prior to that, I served as a research consultant on several Internet-related projects at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, including developing a cyber café for seniors and I have been a research consultant for eHarmony. I have also consulted  with the Dept. of Defense on the social and behavioral issues impacting cybersecurity. My research focuses on the social aspects of information and communication technologies, specifically:  

  • The intersection of technology and social / behavioral systems including the Smart Grid, energy and sustainable buildings, automobility (e.g., autonomous and electric mobility, car sharing) and organizational change and adaptation
  •  Social dimensions of Cybersecurity
  • The social/behavioral dimensions of mobility and emerging interactive  technologies (e.g., chatbots, augmented reality, virtual reality)

I have recetly completed a book on the impact of mobile-social technologies on society called Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives are Reshaping the American Dream. To be published by Penguin Random House/ Prometheus, New York, Fall 2018.


  • Ph.D. Gender, Family, Culture and Communication, University of Southern California, 5/2001
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer, University of Southern California, 2001-08-15-
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    My research over the past 14 years has focused on the growing intersection of digital technologies, internet communications, and new media on social structures and behaviors. I have also been interested in the intersection of information technology, social behavior in and sustainability/ “green”/ energy efficiency, sustainable architecture and Smart grid.

    Study 1: Smart Grid Demonstration Project

    Submitted to the Dept. of Energy in August, 2009 – as a contract with participants from LADWP, JPL and UCLA; The award includes a matching grant, for a total of approximately $121 million.
    For this project, I was the University Behavioral Initiative Lead, as part of the USC team, lead by Donald Paul of the Energy Institute, and Viktor Prassana of Engineering, Peter Will of ISI, and participants from LADWP, and their teams. This major 5-year program is slated began January 2010.

    The Behavioral Initiative of this project included a portfolio of onsite behavioral studies. These behavioral Studies generated ongoing observations, data, and analysis for integration and support of the Demand Response Program.

    Many studies to date have focused on increasing the energy efficiency in buildings through technological means, while completely ignoring the social, and behavioral aspects of occupant’s choices and impacts of these choices on sustainability. Identifying the successful factors related to occupant’s behavior is important, since the success or failure of any new technology lies not just within the solution itself and what it can do – but instead in the successful adoption of it by consumers. Social processes are important to the adoption of any new solution, including shared knowledge, opinions, beliefs, values and social norms.

    In this study, I aimed to identify the key social and behavioral components related to enhanced energy efficiency in sustainable buildings, as well as the perceived social, behavioral, technological and architectural impediments to achieving behavioral change towards greater energy efficiency.

    Research Keywords

    Smart Grid
    Social networking
    Web 3.0
    culture and communications
    social media
    cybersecurity, threats and fear
    sociology of consumer behavior in the digital environment
    digital transformation
    online dating

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    The Social Implications of Emerging Energy Technologies: The Smart Grid

    This line of research focuses on the identification and development of emerging energy -related information technologies related to the Smart Grid; The aim is to identify the social and behavioral determinants essential for successful adoption of Smart Grid technologies and improved energy efficiency.

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • Smart Grid Demonstration Project, (Dept of Energy), LA Dept of Water and Power $121,000,000, 2009-2016

    USC Funding

    • Seed Grant/ Provost’s Research Collaboration Fund. Game Theory and Human Behavior $30,000, 2009-2010
    • Zumberge Grant. Serious Games Inititative $10,000, 2009-2010
  • Conference Presentations

    • “Its Not The Devices” , TEDx BoulderLecture/Seminar, TEDx Boulder, Invited, Boulder, CO, 2019-2020
    • “The Untethered Generation” , Talks at GoogleTalk/Oral Presentation, Google, Invited, Google Campus, Mountain View, CA, 2019-2020
    • “The Untethered Worker ” , Infrastructure Masons Leadership SummitKeynote Lecture, Infrastructure Masons, Invited, Silicon Valley, CA, 2019-2020
    • “The Untethered Workforce” , DCAC 2019Keynote Lecture, EATON, Invited, Austin, Texas, 2019-2020
    • “The Untethered Workforce – Singapore ” , Data Center DynamicsKeynote Lecture, Data Center Dynamics, Invited, Singapore, 2019-2020
    • “The Untethered Workforce -Sydney” , Data Center DynamicsKeynote Lecture, Data Center Dynamics, Invited, Sydney, Australia, 2019-2020
    • “We Are Coming Untethered” , Accenture GlbalKeynote Lecture, Accenture, Invited, Half Moon Bay, CA, 2019-2020
    • “Coming Untethered” , Global HiveKeynote Lecture, Global Hive, Invited, Las Vegas, NV, 2017-2018
    • “Digital Addiction.” , CA Science CenterRoundtable/Panel, CA Science Center, Invited, CA Science Center, 2017-2018
    • “Big Ideas Panel” , Data Center DynamicsRoundtable/Panel, Data Center Dynamics, Invited, New York, NY, 2016-2017
    • “Data Center Dynamics – Issues and Challenges at the Edge” , Data Center DynamicsRoundtable/Panel, Data Center Dynamics, Invited, New York, NY, 2016-2017
    • “IoT and the Internet of Me.” , International Conference on Advanced Technology & SciencesTalk/Oral Presentation, ICAT , Invited, Rome, Italy, 2016-2017
    • “Smart Grids, IoT and the Internet-of-Me in an Untethered World” , Data Center DynamicsKeynote Lecture, Data Center Dynamics, Invited, New York, NY, 2016-2017
    • “Social IoT and the Smart Grid” , International Conference on Power and Energy SystemsTalk/Oral Presentation, ICPES, Invited, Paris, France, 2016-2017
    • “Sociologists and the Media: Developing Positive Relationships Between Journalists and Academia” , American Sociological Association National ConferenceLecture/Seminar, ASA, Invited, San Franscisco, CA, 2008-2009
    • “Research Methods for Reporters” , Education Journalism ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Anneberg School for Communication, 2007-2008
    • “Ethnic plastic surgery” , USC Health Communication InitiativeTalk/Oral Presentation, USC Health Communication Initiative, Invited, Beverly Hills, Ca, 2006-2007
    • “Urban Survivors: Older Adult Internet Skills and Psychosocial Qualities” , Gerontological Society of AmericaTalk/Oral Presentation, Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, 2005-2006
    • “Which Change Begets Change? Modeling Risky Behavior Change as the Result of an HIV Prevention Intervention” , International Communication Association Meeting, International Communication Association Meeting, New Orleans, 2004-2005
    • “Sex and under-aged smoking online: Blocking access to online tobacco sites” , American Public Health AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2002-2003

    Other Presentations

    • “Growing up Digital”, AFCOMSo Cal Chapter, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA, 2017-2018
    • “Made Over in America: A Film Preview and Discussion of Beauty Culture and Plastic Surgery”, Plastic Surgery film screening, interactive clicker polling and panel discussion, Bbovard Auditorium, USC, 2006-2007
  • Book

    • Albright, J. M. (2019). Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives Are Reshaping the American Dream. (Vol. Random, (House/ Prometheus, Ed.). New York, NY: Prometheus Books.

    Book Chapter

    • Albright, J. M., Carter, S. (2019). Myth of the Sirens Song’ Gendered Courtship Scripts Online. Internet-Infused Romantic Interactions and Dating Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.
    • Albright, J. M., Simmens, E. (2014). Flirting, cheating, dating and mating in a virtual world. Handbook of Virtuality London:  Oxford University Press.
    • Albright, J. M. (2013). Porn 2.0: The libidinal economy and the consumption of desire in the digital age. New York, NY: Transformative Consumer Research for Personal and Collective Well-Being.
    • Jordan-Marsh, M., Peng, W., Jung, Y., Silverstein, M., Cody, M., Albright, J. M., Jin, S. (2009). Crossing the digital divide: Issues in bringing the oldest old online. Hershey, PA: IGI Global..
    • Albright, J. M. (2007). How do I love thee and thee and thee: Impression management, deception and multiple relationships online. pp. p.. London: England: Palgrave.
    • Albright, J. M. (2001). Women and Computing. pp. p. 52-53. London, UK / New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Albright, J. M. (2005). Postmodernism. pp. p.. Malden, MA: Blackwell.


    Encyclopedia Article

    • Albright, J. M. (2017). Postmodernism in The Encyclopedia of Sociology. (George Ritzer, Ed.). New York, NY: Blackwell Press.
    • Albright, J. M. (2017). Postmodernism and Poststructuralism in The Essential Concepts of Sociology. ( , Ed.). New York, New York: Wiley.

    Journal Article

    • Hall, J., Carter, S., Cody, M., Albright, J. M. (2010). Individual differences in the communication of romantic interest: Development of the flirting styles inventory. Communication Quarterly.
    • Jung, Y., McLaughlin, M., Albright, J. M. (2009). Seniors enrollment in a cyber café: Internet training and ethnic differences. Educational Gerontology.
    • Albright, J. M. (2009). Impossible Bodies: TV viewing habits, body image and plastic surgery. Configurations:Journal of Science, Technology and Medicine.
    • Albright, J. M. (2008). Sex in America Online: An exploration of sex, marital status and sexual identity in internet sex-seeking and its impacts. Journal of Sex Research.
    • Albright, J. M. (2005). Lolita Online: Sex and under-aged smoking on the Internet. International Journal of Critical Psychology/Lawrence and Wishart. pp. p. 25-51.
    • Albright, J. M. (2003). Desire, love and betrayal: Constructing and deconstructing intimacy online. Journal of Systemic Therapies/Guilford Press. pp. p. 30-46.
    • Albright, J. M. (1996). Walking the Web: A review of websites for women and computing. Feminist Collections/Univesity of Wisconsin Librarian. pp. p. 28-29.


    • Albright, J. M. (1996). Cyborg Cultural Politics in the Age of Hypertext,. pp. p. 25-40.
    • Film – Assistant Producer, Made Over in America
      Assistant Producer
      Distributor, Fall 2008: Icarus/First Run Films, 2007-2008
    • USC Ambassador, bestowed by Dr. Steven Sample, 2006/02/01
    • Nominated – Ebony Award, Black Student Association, 2005/11/01
    • International Conference on Power and Energy Systems Best Presentation Award, 2016-2017
    • Demonstration classroom: Center for Excellence in Teaching, 2008-2009
    • Faculty Fellow in Residence, 2008-2009
    • Hugo G. Beigel Award for this paper. The award, named for the first editor on the Journal of Sex Research, promotes and rewards research excellence in sexual science, and is granted annually to the author(s) of an outstanding research report on sexuality published in Journal of Sex Research., 2008-2009
    • Mortar Board Honored Professor, USC Mortar Board, 2008-2009
    • Professor of the Year – Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Honor Society, Alpha Chapter, University of Southern California, 2008-2009
    • Tommy Award, Office of Student Programming, 2006-2007
    • USC Parent’s Association Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award, 2004-2005
    • Professor of the Year – Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Honor Society, Alpha Chapter, University of Southern California, 2003-2004
    • Professor of the Year – Dept of Sociology, 2001-2002
  • Office Hours

      Several days : 3 hour time slots

    Other Advisement or Time Devoted to Students

      Learning Communities Faculty Advisor
      Faculty Staff Mentor Program
  • Committees

    • Norman Topping Student Aid Fund, Faculty Representative.

      I was the only Faculty member at USC to sit on the Norman Topping Board during my 7 year tenure – it was a nominated, competitive position., 2008-2009

    • Residential College Task Force
      Provost’s Commitee
      Chair: Ed McCann, 2008-2009

    Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

    • Multiple national and regional television, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. See CV,
    • Board Member – Infrastructure Masons,
    • Education Committee – Infrastructure Masons,
    • IOBG Humanitarian Committee,
    • Past President: International Order of the Blue Gavel, District 11,

    Other Service to the University

    • Invited Address, (March 2015). “Untethered Generation,” USC US- China Institute, #MillennialMinds Conference, Shanghai, China  
      , 2014-2015
    • Faculty Fellow in Residence, 2013-2014
    • Beyond Books , 2008-2009
    • Keynote Address: Norman Topping Student Aid Fund Welcome , 2008-2009
    • RA Training – Invited Talk., 2008-2009
    • Learning Communities – Faculty Adviser, 2008-2009
    • Invited Lecture: Love Shack, USC Academic Honors Society
      , 2007-2008
    • USC College Recruitment – Admisssions:

      Took part in Presidential Scholarship interviews and Explore USC Parent Dinner/ Academic Recruitment. , 2006-2007

    • What Matters to Me and Why. Invited Lecture – Rabbi Susan Laemmle. March 2006. Attended by over 200 students, faculty and staff.

      Learning Communities, Debra Bernstein, Coordinator.

      USC College Admissions – Presidential Scholarship interviews and Explore USC Parent Dinner/ Academic Recruitment, 2005/2006.

      (I will be one of 4 featured professors in the upcoming 2006-2007 College Admissions brochure).

      , 2005-2006

  • Committees

    • “Norman Topping Student Aid Fund, Faculty Representative.

      I was the only Faculty member at USC to sit on the Norman Topping Board during my 7 year tenure – it was a nominated, competitive position.”, 2008-2009

    • “Residential College Task Force
      Provost’s Commitee
      Chair: Ed McCann”, 2008-2009

    Conferences Organized

    • Chair- Track, ESREL 2020 – PSAM 15″,
    • Organizer, Energy, Media and Society”,

    Professional Offices

    • Board of Directors, Infrastructure Masons”, 2018-2019

    Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

    • CNN (America’s Morning Show),
    • CU@USC,
    • CNN (twice),
    • MSNBC – (live) ,
    • NBC Nightly News,
    • Newsweek,
    • The Today Show,
    • The Today Show,
    • Today Show,
    • 10. CBS News, New York – Myspace and adults,
    • 11. Current TV – Talking to children about sex,
    • 12. Trojan Vision – Online dating,
    • 4. 60 Minutes (Australia) – Pornography Online and Sexual Predators,
    • Ciudad Magazine,
    • CNN ,
    • CNN.com (front page),
    • CNNShowbiz Tonight,
    • Gannett News Service,
    • Huffington Post,
    • L.A. Daily News,
    • MSNBC.com (four times),
    • New York Times (twice) – picked up by the wire service and distributed widely to major news outlets nationwide.,
    • Newsweek,
    • Salon.com,
    • San Francisco Examiner,
    • The Kuwait Times,
    • Time Magazine,
    • USA Weekly,
    • Yahoo News,
    • 1. NPR/Ernie Brown’s America at Night (Nationally Syndicated in 79 markets) ,
    • 2. ABC 7 News – Story on dating on Second Life,
    • 3. A Current Affair (Australia)- Story on plastic surgery,
    • 3. Dom Giordano show, WPHT Philadelphia,
    • 4. KFWB News, L.A. – Made Over in America,
    • 5. CBS 2 News, Los Angeles – Marital Relationships and Men Are Easy response; Dove Advertising campaign ,
    • 6. KCAL 9, Los Angeles – Second Life virtual reality,
    • 7. KCAL 9, Los Angeles – Cell phone porn and children ,
    • 8. KCAL 9, Los Angeles – Marital relationships and Men Are Easy response,
    • 9. Pro News (Similar to the AP Newswire. Widely distributed) – Myspace ,
    • AP Newswire – multiple times,
    • Austrian National Radio ,
    • Cosmopolitan (twice),
    • Denver Post,
    • Fort Worth Star Telegram,
    • KCUB Phoenix, AZ,
    • Larger than Life: Brigitte Bardot and the Mythology of the Sex Symbol.” Peter Ventrella (Producer). Lionsgate Films,
    • Los Angeles Times (Cover Story) – distributed widely,
    • Men’s Health Magazine,
    • New Jersey Star Ledger – distributed widely,
    • NPR Affiliate- San Diego, CA,
    • Orange County Register (3 times),
    • Philadelphia Inquirer,
    • Riverside Press- Enterprise,
    • San Francisco Chronicle (twice),
    • Seattle Times,
    • South Carolina Herald,
    • St. Louis News,
    • Taiwanese News ,
    • US News & World Report,
    • USA Today (Three times, one a cover story),
    • Variety,
    • Wall Street Journal (Twice),
    • Washington Post,
    • Urb Magazine,
    • Elle Magazine (Cover story),