danah boyd

danah boyd

[ny, ny]

danah has been a huge influence.. see below.

her book, it’s complicated, comes out feb 25, 2014:

it's complicated

book links to amazon

book site:

it's complicated site

[note: available on site linked above – free pdf download]



it's complicated highlights and notes

By and large, the kids are all right. But they want to be understood.


notes/resources on it’s complicated via hastac:





danah on tour:

question/answer at 20 min – huge.. danah – i’m more worried about the ones that are not privileged being misunderstood than those privileged – not getting in… ness. [story of uni asking danah why kid would lie to them about not being in gangs… when his online presence showed otherwise.. her response – what makes you think he’s lying to you.. it’s survival…]

the danger of just one story ness..

31 min – question on “fixing” inequality – danah – tech/online is exposing what we have created offline… don’t think tech is our first effort at fixing… we have done stranger danger to our kids offline.. and that mindset can be seen differently online.. so tech will be helpful.. but need to address underlying – already in existence – issues.. ie: kids online represent existing politics..(paraphrasing all this)

35 min – question on inability to focus w/tech.. danah – talking about our set up of compulsory ed.. is focusing on one task actually in our best interest..? our best skill? – is it ideal? it depends on what we value.. and.. on being able to focus.. it’s almost like adults are far worse at this than teenagers..

38 min – spot on – on timeliness/sleep… we blame kids for getting online late on night – rather than questioning our practice of sending kids to school at an ungodly hour (ie: after 15 hrs of doing the right thing at school at all.. they crave down time online – connecting with friends)

***40 min – talks about her experience where she was told to go find data that fits our beliefs…

47 min – snapchat – you pay attention because you know it’s going to disappear

48 min – the idea of everyone moving to one service (whatsapp/facebook) – really questionable..

50 min – question – a lot has changed in tech – but nothing has really changed in human behavior – danah – how important human contact is… we have focused so heavily on structuring.. that we miss learning… and learning is embedded in connections.. learning to relate to others, have empathy is hard..  how do we as a society create the environment for youth to encounter all kinds of interactions.. the need to allow exploration.. i don’t think tech can drive this.. if we want them to be engaged…responsible/giving/caring… we need to invite them into the public world long before they run off to college

what about tech grounding the chaos for the being in the public world – via daily curiosity – rather than in school…


danah’s new research institute 2014:

data & society
– – –

new white house



In under six weeks, our amazing team produced six guiding documents and crafted a phenomenal event called The Social, Cultural & Ethical Dimensions of “Big Data.” On our conference page, you can find an event summary, videos of the sessions, copies of the workshop primers and discussion notes, a zip file of important references, and documents that list participants, the schedule, and production team. 

Navigating the messiness of “big data” requires going beyond common frames of public vs. private, collection vs. usage. 


danah at sxsw 2014:

danah at sxsw


..this is why I struggle with these tools; they mirror and magnify the good, bad, and ugly. We use this visibility to panic rather than using it to figure out new ways of helping young people.


let kids run wild


Peter Gray reviews it’s complicated:

gray on boyd


nov 2014 on net neutrality et al:



her sites:  danah.org and  apophenia via zephoria   and wikipedia

just meeting up with these people via plenary panel of dmlconference 2013.

dml 2013


Plenary Session #1: “Remixing Citizenship, Remaking Democracy” w/ Craig Watkinsdanah boydAstrid SilvaBiko BakerCathy Cohen

connected learning


research from 2009:



danah is amazing.. if you want to find/follow someone seeking truth/authenticity.

perhaps start here:


or here:

danah siste



i write about her influence on us here. she (and macarthurs work in general) have been a huge inspiration.. the idea to go where people are living/learning.. rather than fix/study them in assigned/designated spaces.

way back when i started gathering info on web use here – but my first impression was with danah boyd’s work.

danah boyd says that because of dateline – predators are now in more danger online than youth


danan kids on fb

One of the most crucial aspects of coming of age is learning how to navigate public life. The teenage years are precisely when people transition from being a child to being an adult. There is no magic serum that teens can drink on their 18th birthday to immediately mature and understand the world around them. Instead, adolescents must be exposed to — and allowed to participate in — public life while surrounded by adults who can help them navigate complex situations with grace. They must learn to be a part of society, and to do so, they must be allowed to participate.
and too… what if public Ed created and is perpetuating the teen/adolescent yrs thinking.. the thinking hat created the 13-17 yr olds ban in the first place..?

listening (or not) with an agenda.. that’s more attuned with punishment than protection

our deep concern for protection – gets lost in the next shiny thing, we see shiny as a potential for salvation


selling out is meaningless






[Kitra – need of youth to remove themselves from all things… that essentially feel fake]



eyes on street

The media coverage focuses on how the posts that they are monitoring are public, suggesting that this excuses their actions because “no privacy is violated.” We should all know by now that this is a terrible justification. Just because teens’ content is publicly accessible does not mean that it is intended for universal audiences nor does it mean that the onlooker understands what they see. (Alice Marwick and I discuss youth privacy dynamics in detail in Social Privacy in Networked Publics”.) But I want to caution against jumping to the opposite conclusion because these cases aren’t as simple as they might seem.
What became clear in this incident – and many others that I tracked – is that there are plenty of youth crying out for help online on a daily basis. Youth who could really benefit from the fact that their material is visible and someone is paying attention
Urban theorist Jane Jacobs used to argue that the safest societies are those where there are “eyes on the street.” What she meant by this was that healthy communities looked out for each other, were attentive to when others were hurting, and were generally present when things went haywire. How do we create eyes on the digital street
jane and this guy http://on.ted.com/Downey and colin et al.. no?
How do we do so in a way that’s not creepy?  When is proactive monitoring valuable for making a difference in teens’ lives?  How do we make sure that these same tools aren’t abused for more malicious purposes?
how..? – city as school
when the only agenda is to listen… not to judge/decide appropriateness ..
of course.. would be best if every person met f to f with a small group 7ish..
that’s not happening right now.. but that’s our fault… not youths’
let’s not close down the only doors/windows we ve left open.
or even re enter and allow them.. if we are going in with an inhumane agenda…
if we have enough money resources interest … to surveill… we certainly have enough to actually listen
What matters is who is doing the looking and for what purposes. When the looking is done by police, the frame is punitive. But when the looking is done by caring, concerned, compassionate people – even authority figures like social workers – the outcome can be quite different. However well-intended, law enforcement’s role is to uphold the law and people perceive their presence as oppressive even when they’re trying to help. And, sadly, when law enforcement is involved, it’s all too likely that someone will find something wrong. And then we end up with the kinds of surveillance that punishes.
yeah. that.
If there’s infrastructure put into place for people to look out for youth who are in deep trouble, I’m all for it. But the intention behind the looking matters the most. When you’re looking for kids who are in trouble in order to help them, you look for cries for help that are public. If you’re looking to punish, you’ll misinterpret content, take what’s intended to be private and publicly punish, and otherwise abuse youth in a new way.

and otherwise abuse youth in a new way.

and otherwise abuse youth in a new way.
and otherwise abuse youth in a new way.
see war on kids.. soling.. for the old/ongoing way….
The very practice of privacy is all about control in a world in which we fully know that we never have control.
The very practice of privacy is all about control in a world in which we fully know that we never have control. Our friends might betray us, our spaces might be surveilled, our expectations might be shattered. But this is why achieving privacy is desirable. People want to be *in* public, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to *be* public. There’s a huge difference between the two. As a result of the destabilization of social spaces, what’s shocking is how frequently teens have shifted from trying to restrict access to content to trying to restrict access to meaning. They get, at a gut level, that they can’t have control over who sees what’s said, but they hope to instead have control over how that information is interpreted.
he was enamored with how people worked and we argued over the need for rigor, the need for formal training..
The whole point of a functioning democracy is to always question the uses and abuses of power in order to prevent tyranny from emerging.
it hasn’t been about justice or national security. It’s been about power
..not much is gained from reifying the us vs. them game that got us here. There has to be another way.
- – – -
..the internet has been my saving grace.
Today, I don’t have that luxury. My internet is painfully public.
..we haven’t enabled safe spaces to grow.
spaces.. from all of us having the luxury of something else to do..
But I genuinely don’t know what it means to construct safe space for geeks in this configuration of the internet. I’m at a loss. This is why I think it needs innovation. And by innovation I mean more than a repurposing of existing technical blocks.
..it became a performance, not a community. Hell, I barely keep tabs on what some of my favorite people write about because all of the tools for managing the dynamic broke when it became big. And my blogging practice changed a lot as a result. For better and for worse. So I’m not sure that it is a conversation anymore, as much as a performance that serves as an opening for a conversation in some instances.
jan 2015:
I’m not saying he’s wrong; I’m saying his story is incomplete and the incompleteness is important.
There’s a reason why researchers and organizations like Pew Research are doing the work that they do — they do so to make sure that we don’t forget about the populations that aren’t already in our networks. …. This is precisely why and how the tech industry is complicit in the increasing structural inequality that is plaguing our society.
feb 2015 – interview:
We live in a commercial society. I don’t like it and I think it’s unhealthy for everyone, but people don’t give youth enough credit. They’re working with the commercial realities because that’s what they’ve got.
I’m delighted to be joining the US Dept of Commerce’s Data Advisory Council: http://t.co/JdzQO9ia63 <grin>

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/zephoria/status/573296621930319872

as a means to facilitate the complicated/ness of us:
networked individuaism graphic




an exchange early on (2009 ish?)..

from me to danah:
hey danah. thank you for the quick response.
i’ve been involved in a lot of conversations about filtering the web for public school. in my district, on twitter, #edchat, etc.
currently i’m thinking we should have no filter.
i think if we avoid the places kids can access outside of school per cipa – we are not doing all we can for safety.
i think we wait too long for everyone to get on board – to feel comfortable with change – especially in ed. i sense that now with filtering – and it’s the kids that lose.
i need your sound advice. i apologize for cutting to the chase – meaning to you – but i can’t find a reason that makes sense to me to filter.
reasons i’ve been given are:
1. safety – i don’t see filtering as the safest way.
2. money – because of #1 – i don’t think following cipa guidelines is worth the money
head me off at the pass sweet – i’m becoming wreckless to

her brilliant response:
In general, I agree with you, provided that you have school monitors in your computer room. I think that teacher monitors (and parents) being present serve as much more effective filters than technology. Shaming is much more effective than blocking. And if you’re not providing a hurdle for students to circumnavigate, you end up reducing the rebellion effect. But the key is to have present adults who are willing and able to push back at students. I do think that educators can and should help youth safely navigate all of the sites that they go to, learn to look out for signs of problems (like phishing scams) and, in general, be a source of media literacy education. But I know it’s tough and a lot of educators aren’t prepared to do it. So they hope it’ll all go away.
Good luck with recklessly changing ed!! It needs to happen!

me back:
thank you danah. so sweet of you to take the time.
insight that i needed. wasn’t even thinking of using parents as filters.
as i anticipated – your wording is so clear. and with no wreckless spelling.
26 kids and i are working on unboxing ed – logging it all on our site. would you mind if i posted this email exchange there – with our morphing thoughts of web use?
so you don’t have to write back – i’ll assume you’re ok with it if i don’t hear from you soon. 

by all means!


i resonate and love the story of capital letters.

to me they are screaming.


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