To browse other articles on a range of HSL topics, see the A-Z index.
danah boyd (November 24th, 1977 — ), blogger, social media ethnographer and researcher, is known for her cogent views of the social networking practices of youth (particularly teenage girls). Her blog, Apophenia, and the views and insights she shares there, has gained a considerable worldwide following. Her analysis of controversial issues in our social media-saturated world has made her a go-to persons for opinions on topics such as teen cyberbullying and privacy issues. Although boyd completed her PhD at the School of Information (iSchool), University of California, Berkeley, she does not seem to self-identify as a librarian (some graduates of the iSchool do self-identify as librarians). Her research examines social media, youth practices, tensions between the public and private self, social networking sites, and intersections between technologies and our society in the 21st century. Prior to mid-2012, boyd worked at Microsoft Research New England and was a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She is now an assistant professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.
danah michele boyd (also danah michele mattas) grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Manheim Township High School. Her name was "spelled all funky because my mother loved typographical balance". In college, she adopted her maternal grandfather's surname, eventually settling on danah boyd "to reflect my mother's original balancing and to satisfy my own political irritation at the importance of capitalization." By styling herself danah boyd, one recalls a number of other prominent media celebrities who have also used lowercase orthographies such as k.d. lang and e.e. cummings. The use of lowercase letters will probably endear her to the current generation of tech-savvy teenagers (which might be useful since she is an ethnographer).
education / research
boyd completed her master's degree at the MIT Media Lab's Sociable Media Group with Judith Donath (supervised by Henry Jenkins and Genevieve Bell). Her thesis focused on how people manage the post-modern concept of self-presentation in social and online contexts. She studied computer science at Brown University, advised by Andy van Dam, and looked at how prioritization of depth cues is dependent on levels of sex hormones including how this might affect engagement with virtual reality. boyd's dissertation looked at how American teenagers socialize in MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube. She examined how architectural differences between unmediated and mediated spaces affect identity and culture. Her research was funded in part by MacArthur Foundation's Initiative on New Media and Learning. More recently, boyd studied Twitter, blogging, social networking sites (e.g. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook...) tagging, and other forms of social media. She has written extensively about digital backchannels, visualization design, sexing of internet interactions and creating artifacts for memory work. With other members of the MacArthur Foundation-funded project on digital media and learning, she co-authored Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. She blogs at Apophenia and tweets at Zephoria on a wide variety of topics.
boyd's new book (available free) is It's complicated: the social lives of networked teens (2014), and published by Yale University Press.