Liza Potts

Professor; Director of WIDE Research; Graduate Faculty
Office: 291 Bessey Hall
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Websites: and

Research Areas

Digital Humanities, Experience Architecture, Participatory Culture, Disaster Communication


Liza Potts is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University where she leads WIDE Research and co-founded of the Experience Architecture program. Her research interests include networked participatory culture, social user experience, and digital rhetoric. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and others. She has published three books, including a monograph, an edited collection, and a digital book, as well as over 70 publications and several digital humanities projects. She is the caretaker of, an international cultural heritage website for the Sherlock Holmes community. Her professional experience includes working for technology startups, Microsoft, and consultancies on user experience projects.


Ph.D. Communication and Rhetoric, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2007
M.S. Technical Communication, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003
Graduate Certificate in Human-Computer Interaction, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003
B.A. English, Florida Atlantic University, 1997

Representative Work

Books Length Projects

Potts, L. (2016-Present). Over 350 pages of content containing over 3,000 links, with recent monthly analytics calculating 371,000 impressions, 2,040 clicks, and 419 page views on our home page alone.

Potts, L. with Beattie, M., Dallaire, E., Grimes, K., Turner, K. (2018). Participatory memory: Fandom experiences across time and space. Intermezzo at Enculturation digital press.

Potts, L., Salvo, M. (2017). Rhetoric and experience architecture. Edited collection. South Carolina: Parlor Press.

Potts, L. (2014). Social media in disaster response: How experience architects can build for participation. New York, NY: Routledge.

Representative Publications

Small, R., Trice, M., Potts, L. (2019). “Values vs. Rules in Social Media Communities: How Platforms Generate Amorality on reddit and Facebook.” In Digital Ethics: Rhetoric and Responsibility in Online Aggression, Hate Speech, and Harassment edited by Reyman and Sparby. Routledge. Winner of the 2019 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award.

Trice, M., Potts, L. (2018). “Building Dark Patterns into Platforms: How GamerGate Perturbed Twitter’s User Experience.” Present Tense.

Potts, L., Harrison, A. (2013). “Interfaces as Rhetorical Constructions: Reddit and 4chan During the Boston Marathon Bombings.” Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Design of Communication. ACM SIGDOC.

Potts, L. & Jones, D. (2011). “Contextualizing Experience: Tracing the Relationships Between People and Technologies in the Social Web.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 25 (2), 338-358.

Potts, L., Seitzinger, J., Jones, D., Harrison, A. (2011). “Tweeting Disaster: Hashtags Constructions and Collisions.” Proceedings of the 29th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication. Italy: ACM SIGDOC.

Potts, L. (2009). “Using Actor Network Theory to Trace and Improve Multimodal Communication Design.” Technical Communication Quarterly, 18 (3), 281-301.

Selected Courses Taught

DH 491 Digital Cultures
DH 863 Digital Humanities Research
WRA 415 Digital Rhetoric
WRA 420 Content Strategy
WRA 870 Research Methodologies
WRA 891 Digital Research
XA 333 Researching Experience Architecture
XA 375 Information Architecture
Study Abroad in the UK and Ireland

Awards and Recognitions

SIGDOC 2016 Chair Recognition
SIGDOC 2015 Diana Award for Women in Technical Communication
CCCC 2015 Technology Innovator Award for WIDE Research Center
ODU 2010 Teaching with Technology Award

Research or Academic Affiliations

Leader of WIDE Research
Caretaker of
Core Faculty Digital Humanities
Past Chair of ACM’s SIGDOC