Vyacheslav Polonski (@slavacm) is a DPhil student at the Oxford Internet Institute. His research interests are located at the intersection of network science, media studies and social psychology. Vyacheslav’s doctoral research examines the adoption and use of social network sites, focusing on the effects of social influence, social cognition and identity construction.

Vyacheslav is a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum. He was awarded the Master of Science degree with Distinction in the Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford in 2013. He also obtained the Bachelor of Science degree with First Class Honours in Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2012.

Vyacheslav was honoured at the British Council International Student of the Year 2011 awards, and was named UK’s Student of the Year 2012 and national winner of the Future Business Leader of the Year 2012 awards by TARGETjobs.

Previously, he has worked as a management consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and gained further work experience at the World Economic Forum, PwC, Mars, Bertelsmann and Besides, he was involved in several start-ups as part of the 2012 cohort of Entrepreneur First and as part of the founding team of the London office of Rocket Internet. Vyacheslav was the junior editor of the bi-lingual book ‘Inspire a Nation‘ about Barack Obama’s first presidential election campaign. In 2013, he was invited to be a keynote speaker at the inaugural TEDx conference of IE University in Spain to discuss the role of a networked mindset in everyday life.

Vyacheslav is fluent in German, English and Russian, and is passionate about new technologies, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, philosophy and modern art.

Research interests

Network science, social network analysis, online communities, agency and structure, group dynamics, social interaction, big data, critical mass, network effects, knowledge networks, information diffusion, product adoption

Positions held at the OII

  • DPhil student, October 2013 –
  • MSc Student, October 2012 – August 2013

Supervisors at the OII


Conference papers

  • Polonski, V.W. and Hogan, B. (2015) "Assessing the structural correlates between friendship networks and conversational agency in Facebook groups", Proceedings of the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media,. 674-677.



  • 30 Under 30 Europe 2018

    24 January 2018 Forbes

    Oxford Internet Institute DPhil student Vyacheslav Polonski announced as one of Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 for 2018.

  • Is Social Media Destroying Democracy?

    5 August 2016 Newsweek

    Today's citizens have the power to assemble online and it's disrupting traditional political systems, says Vyacheslav Polonski.

  • The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed

    4 August 2016 World Economic Forum

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski says that the internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action into a radically new dimension. Democracy is now not only exercised at the ballot box, but lived and experienced online on a day-to-day basis.

  • Social Networks Could Predict the Next Brexit

    30 June 2016 Bloomberg

    In an article analyzing the Instagram activity that preceded the EU Referendum, Vyacheslav Polonski, of Oxford University, found that "leave" supporters far outnumbered and were more active than "remainers."

  • Impact of social media on the outcome of the EU referendum

    30 June 2016 EU Referendum Analysis 2016

    Social media has changed the nature of political campaigning and will continue to play a key role in future elections around the world, says Vyacheslav W. Polonski in a discussion of the impact of social media on the outcome of the EU referendum.

  • Views from Oxford on the EU referendum result

    28 June 2016 Oxford Today

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski gives his response to the EU referendum result, discussing the role of social media role in the debate.

  • ‘Brexit’ Talk on Social Media Favored the ‘Leave’ Side

    24 June 2016 New York Times

    DPhil student Vyacheslav Polonski has published a study of Brexit campaigns’ activity on Instagram. He analyzed the activities of over 15,000 users who engaged in the referendum debate, finding that E.U. skeptics and Brexit supporters dominate.

  • Live Coverage: E.U. Referendum: Britain Votes to Leave

    24 June 2016 ACQ5

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski, says the campaign to leave routinely outmuscled its rival, with more vocal and active supporters across almost all social media platforms.

  • EU referendum — views from Oxford

    24 June 2016 University of Oxford

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski gives his response to the EU referendum result, discussing the role of social media role in the debate.

  • Klauwen uit voor Europa

    22 June 2016 Trouw

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski is quoted on the impact of social media on the EU Referendum.

  • Partidários do Brexit levam vantagem em ofensiva on-line, dizem analistas

    21 June 2016 O Globo

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski is quoted on the impact of social media on the EU Referendum.

  • #Nofilter debate: Brexit campaigners dominate on Instagram

    9 June 2016 The Conversation

    Instagram is where some of the most interesting EU referendum campaigning is playing out, says Vyacheslav W. Polonski.

  • Is it ‘workin’? Social media playing key role in referendum battle

    26 May 2016 BBC News

    The battle between the Remain and Leave sides in the EU referendum is in full swing and social media is being used by both camps to try to win the race. Research by Vyacheslav W. Polonski is referenced.

  • How Well Does China Embrace the Internet?

    10 September 2015 Huffington Post

    OII doctoral student, Vyacheslav Polonski, explores the use of the internet in China. Using recent data on the diffusion and adoption of the web he concludes there are many reasons to be optimistic about China's internet growth.

  • Die Macht der sozialen Netzwerke

    25 August 2015 Der Tagesspeigel

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski discusses social influence, one of the most cited and yet least understood concepts in strategy and public policy today.