Lee Rainie

Director, Imagining the Digital Future Center

Lee Rainie joined the Imagining the Digital Future Center as director in 2023 after 24 years of directing Pew Research Center’s efforts to study the internet and technology.

While leader of Pew’s Internet and Technology Project, he and his team produced more than 850 reports about the social, political and economic impact of four newly emerging technology revolutions: the internet/broadband revolution, the mobile connectivity revolution, the social media revolution and the artificial intelligence revolution. His partnership with Elon University began in 2000, when – as Pew Internet director – he began at first funding and then co-leading and publishing a remarkable series of “future of the internet” reports with Elon researchers.

His project was described by the American Sociological Association’s Public Sociology Award citing his team’s work at Pew as the “most authoritative source of reliable data on the use and impact of the internet and mobile connectivity,” noting its “excellence in the reporting on social issues.” His research with Pew and that with Elon University is frequently reported by major media outlets nationally and globally. He is also a well-known speaker who has appeared annually as a keynoter in dozens of national and international venues.

Rainie is co-author (with Barry Wellman) of “Networked: The New Social Operating System”, and of a series of five books about the future of the internet co-authored by research partner Janna Anderson that were based on early Project canvassings of experts.

Prior to his long career at Pew, Rainie was managing editor of the newsweekly magazine U.S. News & World Report from 1987 to 1999, and he previously covered American politics for several publications, including the New York Daily News, where he worked from 1975 to 1987.

Contact: lrainie@elon.edu

Janna Anderson

Co-founder and senior researcher,
Imagining the Digital Future Center
Founding director, Imagining the Internet

Elon University professor of communications Janna Anderson, directed the Imagining the Internet Center from its first research project in 2000 through 2023, when the center rebranded and repositioned itself as the Imagining the Digital Future Center (ITDF). Since then she has served as the co-founder and senior researcher at ITDF. She continues to co-author the Center’s “digital future” reports and assists in leading its varied programs while also managing the Imagining the Internet Center’s extensive archive.

Anderson has led or co-led more than 50 research surveys and reports, many of them funded by the Pew Research Internet & Technology Project. All of her work funded by Pew was researched and written in her partnership with Lee Rainie.

Anderson is co-author (with Rainie) of the “Future of the Internet” book series published by Cambria Press. She is author of the book “Imagining the Internet: Personalities, Predictions, Perspectives,” published by Rowman & Littlefield, designated as a 2006 American Library Association “Choice” book – a must-have book for library reference collections.

She has participated as an expert speaker or consultant on the future of information technologies at many events, including South by Southwest Interactive, WebCom, NextGov, MobilityShifts, Institute for the Future symposiums, the U.N.-facilitated Internet Governance Forum, World Future conferences and the Metaverse Roadmap Project. She is frequently quoted in media reports and sought out by those in government and business to share her expertise. She has been active in the processes of the UN-facilitated Internet Governance Forum and is a contributor to the Millennium Project’s futures reports and projects.

She is known for 25 years of excellence in teaching and research at Elon, the university U.S. News & World Report ranked from 2021 through 2023 as #1 in teaching among all U.S. National universities. Between 2005 and 2018, she led student documentary video research teams in recording more than 6,000 interviews on the future of digital life, conducted with thousands of attendees at 29 global technology policy events. All of that event content can be found here.

Contact: andersj@elon.edu