danah boyd

Founder, Data & Society | Partner Researcher, Microsoft Research
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danah boyd is an internationally recognized authority on the ways people use networked social media as a context for social interaction— who uses technology, what they do there, and why as well as the privacy and data-related implications of these practices. She is a Partner Researcher at Microsfot Research and the founder of Data & Society, a research institute focused on examining the social and cultural issues that emerge around data-driven technologies, including issues as varied as automation and intelligent systems, networked privacy, and the civil rights implications of big data.

Dr. boyd is a researcher who investigates the interplay between technology, society, and policy. Her work explores the impact of bias in big data and artificial intelligence, the social implications of using data in areas such as education, criminal justice, labor, and public life, as well as how individuals navigate privacy and publicity concerns. In the past, her research has focused on the ways in which American youth integrate social media into their daily lives while addressing societal anxieties surrounding technology. More recently, her work has explored the relationship between contemporary social inequalities and technology, and she is currently examining what makes data legitimate based on fieldwork she's conducting on the 2020 US census. She has collaborated with a network of researchers at Data & Society on various topics, including media manipulation, the future of work, fairness and accountability in machine learning, combating bias in data, and the cultural dynamics surrounding artificial intelligence.

In her most recent book, Participatory Culture in a Networked Era: A Conversation on Youth, Learning, Commerce, and Politics, danah boyd examines the ways in which our personal and professional lives are shaped by experiences interacting with and around emerging media. boyd describes the process of diversification and mainstreaming that has transformed participatory culture. She advocates a move beyond individualized personal expression and argues for the benefit of "doing it together". This book will engage readers in a broader conversation about their own participatory practices in the digital age.

In 2014, she published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. In this eye-opening book, danah uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. danah was also one of the researchers in a major 3-year study of digital youth funded by the MacArthurFoundation, resulting in the publication of Hanging Out, MessingAround, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with NewMedia.

She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel, Tribe.net, Google and Yahoo! She has advised and consulted for dozens of other companies. She also spent five years creating and managing a large-scale online community for V-Day, anon-profit organization working to end the violence against women and girls worldwide.

danah is on the board of the Crisis Text Line, an organization that provides counseling services to struggling youth through text messaging. She's also a Trustee of Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Data Advisory Council. She is on the advisory boards of the Electronic Privacy InformationCenter and both University of California at Berkeley and University of Michigan’s School of Information. Previously, danah was Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

She also regularly writes academic publications and mainstream essays, published in a range of venues, including The Guardian, New York Times, and TIME. danah is one of Foreign Policy's 2012 Top 100 Global Thinkers. She was named to Fast Company's list of theMost Influential Women in Technology and named the smartest academic in tech by Fortune Magazine. She won CITASA's Public Sociology Award. And in 2011, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Research Assistant Professor, New York University Department of Media, Culture and Communication
  • Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New South Wales
  • 2019 Barlow/Pioneer Award
  • CITASA Public Sociology Award
  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader
  • MIT Presidential Fellow
  • PhD, School of Information,University of California-Berkeley
  • Masters in Sociable Media, MIT MediaLab
  • Bachelors in Computer Science, Brown University
  • Former Advisory Board for LiveJournal, Blyk, Technorati, Youth Media Exchange,
  • O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference, SXSW-Interactive, and Blogher
  • Former Director of New Media Consortium
  • Co-director of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force and the Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative
  • Member of the Ad Council's Internet Safety Coalition
  • Commissioner on the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy Profiled in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, and Financial Times

Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D in Information, University of California-Berkeley, 2008; Master’s in Sociable Media, MIT Media Lab, 2002; Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Brown University, 2000.
  • Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on how American youth engage in networked publics like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc. This work was funded by the MacArthur Foundation as part of a broader grant on digital youth and informal learning.
  • She has published dozens of academic articles in venues like New Media & Society, First Monday, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Journal of Communication, and Information, Communication, and Society.


Youth Engagement with Social Media: Challenges and Opportunities

Why do young people spend so much time using social media? How can they value privacy when they share so much online? How do we help them navigate the challenges of drama and bullying? How does their social media use give us hints about where the future is heading? And what does all of this mean for forward-looking educators and schools? These are some of the questions that danah boyd will address in her talk. She will discuss young people's practices and attitudes, provide insight into how social media is affecting their lives, and describe new opportunities for leveraging technology to empower youth.

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Youth Culture and Social Media

How youth use social media is of great interest and concern to many, including parents, teachers, government, and industry. Over the last decade, danah has studied a wide range of topics related to young people's use of social media. She has examined why they adopt the tools they do and what they do with them. Curious about the widespread belief that "kids don't care about privacy," danah has developed work that shows how teens seek to achieve privacy in light of very public tools. Likewise, her work has addressed a wide variety of issues under the umbrella of "online safety," including sexual crimes against children, bullying, sexting, eating disorder communities, and other concerns.

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Is social media destroying kids mental health?
danah boyd
Youth Culture in the Networked Era | NAIS
danah boyd
Your data is being manipulated | Strata Data Conference
danah boyd
What Hath We Wrought? | SXSW EDU 2018
danah boyd
Teen Privacy Strategies in Networked Publics
danah boyd
Media Manipulation, Amplification and Responsibility | ONA 18
danah boyd
How An Algorithmic World Can Be Undermined | re:publica 2018
danah boyd
Hacking Big Data: Discovering Vulnerabilities in a Sociotechnical Society | Media Ethics Initiative
danah boyd


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Struggling with a Moral Panic Once Again
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Can tech regulation solve mental health issues?
Detroit Public Radio
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The Resource Bind: System Failure and Legitimacy Threats in Sociotechnical Organizations
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KOSA (Kids Online Safety Act) isn’t designed to help kids.
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Dear Alt-Twitter Designers: It's about the network!
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Protect Elders! Ban Television!!
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What if failure is the plan?
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In the Pursuit of Knowledge, There Be Dragons
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Behind every algorithm, there be politics



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Artificial Intelligence
Big Data & Data Science
Social Media
Women's Voices
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