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Thursday, October 5 • 9:00am - 10:30am
danah boyd - Learning All the Wrong Things

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A decade ago, my collaborators and I imagined a world of participatory culture where young people would be empowered to actively and strategically use technology to engage with the world around them.  Through a mixture of peer learning, self-learning, and formal education, we saw many young people develop sophisticated understandings of how to use social media to their advantage. Yet, not all of the practices that emerged as a result are inherently positive.  From the rise of pro-Ana communities to the trolling associated with #Gamergate to the strategic manipulation of media for racist agendas, we’ve seen a form of participatory culture emerge that can be unhealthy, cruel, and socially devastating. 

In this talk, I will interrogate some of the darker sides of networked media engagement: media manipulation, strategic harassment, and youth radicalization. And then we’ll think through different kinds of interventions - and the unintended consequences of good intentions in a world where the internet mirrors and magnifies the good, bad, and ugly. 


danah boyd is the founder and president of Data & Society, a research institute focused on understanding the role of data-driven technologies in society. She is also a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Professor at ITP at New York University. Dr. boyd is a 2011 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a Director of both Crisis Text Line and Social Science Research Council, and a Trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. She sits on advisory boards for Electronic Privacy Information Center, Brown University Department of Computer Science, and the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Dr. boyd's research focuses on the intersection of technology, society, and policy. She is currently doing work on questions related to bias in "big data" and artificial intelligence, how people negotiate privacy and publicity, and the social ramifications of using data in education, criminal justice, labor, and public life. For over a decade, she examined how American youth incorporate social media into their daily practices in light of different fears and anxieties that the public has about young people's engagement with technologies like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and texting. She has researched a plethora of teen issues, ranging from privacy to bullying, racial inequality to sexual identity. Her early findings were published in "Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media." Her 2014 monograph "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" has received widespread praise from scholars, parents, and journalists and has been translated into 7 languages. This work was funded by both the MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft Research. In her most recent collaborative book project - "Participatory Culture in a Networked Era" - she worked with Mimi Ito and Henry Jenkins to reflect on how digital participations has shaped different parts of society.

In 2010, Dr. boyd won the CITASA Award for Public Sociology. The Financial Times dubbed Dr. boyd "The High Priestess of Internet Friendship" while Fortune Magazine identified her as the smartest academic in tech. She was identified as one of Technology Review's 2010 Young Innovators under 35 (TR35). Her work has been profiled by numerous publications, including the New York TimesFast Company, the Boston Globe, and Forbes Magazine.

She was a Commissioner on the 2008-2009 Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. From 2009-2013, danah served on the World Economic Forum’s Social Media Global Agenda Council. At the Berkman Center, Dr. boyd co-directed the Internet Safety Technical Task Force in 2008 with John Palfrey and Dena Sacco to work with companies and non-profits to identify potential technical solutions for keeping children safe online. This Task Force was formed by the U.S. Attorneys General and MySpace and is being organized by the Berkman Center. More recently, Dr. boyd co-directed the Youth Media and Policy Working Group with John Palfrey and Urs Gasser; this project was funded by the MacArthur Foundation from 2009-2011. In 2012, she and John Palfrey also helped the Born This Way Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation develop a research strategy to help empower youth to address meanness and cruelty. She is one of the hosts of the annual Data & Civil Rights Conference. Since 2015, she has also served on the US Commerce Department's Data Advisory Council.

Dr. boyd received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University (under Andy van Dam), a master's degree in sociable media from MIT Media Lab (under Judith Donath), and a Ph.D in Information from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008 (under Peter Lyman and Mimi Ito). She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel, Tribe.net, Google, and Yahoo! She also created and managed a large online community for V-Day, a non-profit organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide. She has advised numerous other companies, sits on corporate, education, conference, and non-profit advisory boards, and regularly speaks at a wide variety of conferences and events.

Dr. boyd has published dozens of articles in a wide range of scholarly venues, blogs at http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/ and tweets at @zephoria


Thursday October 5, 2017 9:00am - 10:30am
Pacific Ballroom D

Attendees (110)