Research Interests

Cooperation, coordination, and governance of/within in online communities


Matthew N. Nicholson, Brian C. Keegan, and Casey Fiesler. 2023. Mastodon Rules: Characterizing Formal Rules on Popular Mastodon Instances. In Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW ’23 Companion), October 14–18, 2023, Minneapolis, MN, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA. [ pdf ]

Matthew N. Nicholson, Kyosuke Tanaka, and Noshir S. Contractor. 2019. Snakes in the Plane: Mitigating the Effect of Bad Actors on a Network Coordination Task. Northwestern University Undergraduate honors thesis.

Shibo Zhang, Rawan Alharbi, Matthew N. Nicholson, and Nabil Alshurafa. 2017. When generalized eating detection machine learning models fail in the field. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (UbiComp ‘17). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 613–622.


Matthew N. Nicholson, Kyosuke Tanaka, and Noshir S. Contractor. 2018. Creating a Framework for Evaluating the effectiveness of Various Search Strategies in the Small-World Phenomenon. Northwestern Computational Research Day.

Research Assistant Positions

Al-Adala Lab

August 2022 – Present

Mentor: Professor Bryan Semaan

  • Studying mass-scale, emergent collaboration within an online community amongst a large, distributed group of actors from diverse backgrounds using a mix of semi-structured interviews and social network analysis

Colorado Laboratory for Users, Media, & Networks (COLUMN)

Jan 2023 – Present

Mentors: Professors Brian Keegan & Casey Fiesler

  • Studying inter-platform migration in online spaces through a combination of surveys, semi-structured interviews, and social network analysis

Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Lab

Jan 2018 – June 2019

Mentors: Professor Noshir Contractor & Kyosuke Tanaka

  • Created an agent based model using NetLogo to study the effect of various networking strategies on routing effciency in communication networks

  • Coordinated, administered and analyzed data from information routing experiments within groups of socially connected individuals

Health Aware Bits (HABits) Lab

Jan 2016 – Nov 2017

Mentors: Professor Nabil Alshurafa & Shibo Zhang

  • Designed generalized and personalized machine learning models to detect low-level features like feeding gestures, swallows, and alone time
  • Supported the development of a collection of passive wearable sensors to detect problematic health behaviors and their contextual factors