Danah Boyd
Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research, is quite in the news these days, including a very nice profile in The Guardian:

The Guardian – 9 December 2009
Danah Boyd: ‘People looked at me like I was an alien’
Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd talks about social networking, young people and how the web is more private than your home.

There’s one cliche in particular that annoys Danah Boyd: the “digital native”.

“There’s nothing native about young people’s engagement with technology,” she says, adamantly.

The Microsoft researcher, who has made a career from studying the way younger people use the web, doesn’t think much of the widely held assumption that children are innately better at coping with the web or negotiating the hurdles of digital life. Instead, she suggests, they’re pretty much like everyone else.

“Young people are learning, they’re learning about the social world around them,” she says. “The social world around them today has mediated technologies, thus in order to learn about the social world they’re learning about the mediated technologies. And they’re leveraging that to work out the shit that kids have always worked out: peer sociality, status, their first crush.”

ReadWriteWeb – 10 December 2009
Says Danah Boyd, Leverage the Web’s Most Disturbing Content
Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd took a decidedly different approach when considering social networking at today’s LeWeb conference [and made] the point that negative and disturbing web content can also serve as a vehicle for change.

“Boyd explains how those who monitor online profile information, tend to have something to gain from it in a negative way. For example, oppressive governments often monitor the web for signs of criminal activity in order to enforce laws or suppress certain activities. Nevertheless, Boyd believes the visibility of violence, drug use and criminal activity can also be used by regular netizens for constructive purposes.”

On her blog, Danah links to the crib of her talk, and to the LeWeb video and the Supernova video (where she presented the same talk).