235 Bessey Hall
434 Farm Ln
East Lansing, MI 48824
FacultyWriting, Rhetoric, and American CulturesExperience ArchitectureRhetoric and WritingProfessional and Public Writing
Director of WIDE Research
Director of Graduate Studies
Liza Potts is a professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University where she leads WIDE Research and is a co-founder 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. Liza has published three books and over 70 publications focused on disaster response, user experience, and participatory memory, as well as several digital projects from community archives to leading the Sherlockian.net team. Her professional experience includes working for technology startups, Microsoft, and design consultancies.
Digital Culture, Experience Architecture, Disaster Communication, Fan Studies
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
Research or Academic Affiliations
Leader of WIDE Research
Caretaker of Sherlockian.net
Core Faculty Digital Humanities
Past Chair of ACM’s SIGDOC
Potts, L. (2016-Present). Managing, redesigning, maintaining, sustaining, curating, and archiving the premiere international cultural heritage website for one of the oldest fan communities in the world. Producing content for and managing multiple social media channels, including a Facebook page, Twitter feeds, and other community forums. Leading a team of students and mentoring them on appropriate best practices based on research. Conducting research on community needs, usability, and content strategy. Our numbers for 2021 include 1.9 million impressions on Google, a major positive leap in our search engine optimization. In a typical month, we have over 5,700 page views. With over 350 pages of content containing over 3,000 links, and 419 page views per month on our home page alone, this project amounts to a book-length project every year per the Dean’s office.
Participatory memory: Fandom experiences across time and space
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.
Rhetoric and experience architecture
Potts, L., Salvo, M. (2017). Rhetoric and experience architecture. Edited collection. South Carolina: Parlor Press.
Social media in disaster response: How experience architects can build for participation
Potts, L. (2014). Social media in disaster response: How experience architects can build for participation. New York, NY: Routledge.
Finding a Teaching A11y: Designing an Accessibility-Centered Pedagogy
Sonka, K., McArdle, C. Potts, L. (2021). “Finding a Teaching A11y: Designing an Accessibility-Centered Pedagogy.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.
Valuing Expertise During the Pandemic
Baniya, S., Potts, L. (2021). “Valuing Expertise During the Pandemic.” Journal of Business and Technical Writing. 35 (1).
Recursive Participatory Mentoring: A New Model for Mentoring Women in the Technical Communication Workplace
Meloncon, L., Potts, L. (2020). “Recursive Participatory Mentoring: A New Model for Mentoring Women in the Technical Communication Workplace.” Technical Communication.
Values vs. Rules in Social Media Communities: How Platforms Generate Amorality on reddit and Facebook
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.
Building Dark Patterns into Platforms: How GamerGate Perturbed Twitter’s User Experience
Trice, M., Potts, L. (2018). “Building Dark Patterns into Platforms: How GamerGate Perturbed Twitter’s User Experience.” Present Tense.
Interfaces as Rhetorical Constructions: Reddit and 4chan During the Boston Marathon Bombings
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.
Contextualizing Experience: Tracing the Relationships Between People and Technologies in the Social Web
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.
Tweeting Disaster: Hashtags Constructions and Collisions
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.
Using Actor Network Theory to Trace and Improve Multimodal Communication Design
Potts, L. (2009). “Using Actor Network Theory to Trace and Improve Multimodal Communication Design.” Technical Communication Quarterly, 18 (3), 281-301.
Awards and Honors
SIGDOC 2020 Diana Award for WIDE Research Center
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
WRA 415: Digital Rhetoric
WRA 420: Content Strategy
WRA 870: Research Methodologies
WRA 891: Digital Research Methods
WRA 891: Statistics for Technical Communication
XA 333: Researching Experience Architecture
XA 375: Information Architecture
Study Abroad in the UK and Ireland