Matt Rafalow


Dr. Matt Rafalow is Sociologist (PhD, University of California-Irvine), a social scientist at Google (YouTube), and a Research Fellow at USC Annenberg. At Google he manages a research team studying new experiences on YouTube.

Most of his research focuses on digital inequality in education and through creative production online. He is the author of Digital Divisions: How Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era (University of Chicago Press, 2020; winner of the CITAMS Best Book Award and Honorable Mention for Education Section’s Bourdieu Best Book Award), and is co-author of Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interests Fuel Learning (NYU Press, 2018). His work has appeared in journals such as American Journal of Sociology, Educational Researcher, Symbolic Interaction, and Social Currents.

Dr. Rafalow’s new project focuses on YouTubers and their viewers. This study draws on interviews with 123 YouTubers varying from 2,000 to 22 million subscribers and spanning content genres, and cross-national surveys and interviews from their viewers. This research is broadly about how YouTubers decide to create their video content and the role that audiences play in shaping their process.