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Search results for 'boyd'
19 January 2009

Taken Out of Context: American teen sociality in networked publics

danah boyd
danah boyd is a a PhD candidate at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley) and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

She just published her dissertation entitled “Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics“. It examines how American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube, and how the architectural differences between unmediated and mediated publics affect sociality, identity and culture.

Abstract

As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices – gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens’ engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices – self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties – persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability – and three dynamics – invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private – are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens’ engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

Download dissertation

26 September 2008

Microsoft Research New England inaugural symposium

Microsoft Research
On Sept. 22, 2008, Microsoft Research New England conducted an inaugural symposium in Cambridge, Mass., hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to open an extensive collaboration with leading research institutions in the region.

The symposium included introductions to Microsoft Research and its New England lab, discussed the possibilities inherent in interdisciplinary research projects, and examined some of the ways that computing will enhance the sciences of tomorrow.

Two talks are very aligned with the themes of this blog, and can be viewed online:

Understanding Socio-Technical Phenomena in a Web 2.0 Era (video)
danah boyd, Fellow, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Web 2.0 signals an iteration in Internet culture, shaped by changes in technology, entrepreneurism, and social practices. Beneath the buzzwords that flutter around Web 2.0, people are experiencing a radical reworking of social media. Networked public spaces that once catered to communities of interest are now being leveraged by people of all ages to connect with people they already know. Social network sites like MySpace and Facebook enable people to map out their social networks in order to create public spaces for interaction. People can use social media to vocalize their thoughts, although having a blog or video feed doesn’t guarantee having an audience. Tagging platforms allow people to find, organize and share content in entirely new ways. Mass collaborative projects like Wikipedia allow people to collectively create valuable cultural artifacts. These are but a few examples of Web 2.0.

Getting to the core of technologically-mediated phenomena requires understanding the interplay between everyday practices, social structures, culture, and technology. In this talk, I will map out some of what’s currently taking place, offer a framework for understanding these phenomena, and discuss strategies for researching emergent practices.

(via apophenia)

Designing Experience/The Experience of Design (video)
Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

I have a personal mantra:

Ultimately, we are deluding ourselves if we think that the products that we design are the “things” that we sell, rather than the individual, social and cultural experience that they engender, and the value and impact that they have. Design that ignores this is not worthy of the name.

If I am right and that the real outcome of the exercise is the experience, then does it not make sense that the quality of that experience be front and centre in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of any product or service? Yet, the vast majority of technology-based products and services stand as testament that this is currently not the case. Unless we consciously take steps to change this situation, we risk losing the potential benefits that such products and services were intended to deliver. Furthermore, as we go further and further down the path of ubiquitous computing, the consequences of not doing so will become ever more serious.

Consequently, the intent of this talk is to address the nature of design, and how design thinking and practice can be integrated into our processes, and help address this situation. From the perspective of integration, we describe a process which is based on three interdependent and equally important pillars that must drive everything from day one: design, technology and business. The argument made is that if there is not a comparable investment, competence, and degree of innovation in each, from the start, then the endeavour will be seriously jeopardized.

In discussing this, we then drill down a bit deeper into what we mean by design. The argument made here is that, despite frequent claims to the contrary, everyone is not a designer; rather, design is a distinct profession, with a distinct practice, which is just as specialized and essential as engineering, for example.

The historian Melvin Kranzberg stated that technology is not good, it is not bad, but nor is it neutral. The whole point of this talk is to help us land more firmly and consistently on the positive side of the equation through an appropriate focus on users and experience through an improved appreciation of the role of design.

27 August 2008

Book – Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives

Born Digital
Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser
Basic Books, 2008
Hardcover, 288 pages

This new book, which grew out of the digital natives project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center, investigates “what it means to grow up in a mediated culture and the ways in which technology inflects issues like privacy, safety, intellectual property, media creation, and learning,” (as introduced by Danah Boyd). Here is the official abstract:

The most enduring change wrought by the digital revolution is neither the new business models nor the new search algorithms, but rather the massive generation gap between those who were born digital and those who were not. The first generation of “digital natives”-children who were born into and raised in the digital world-is now coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our cultural life, even the shape of our family life will be forever transformed. But who are these digital natives? How are they different from older generations, and what is the world they’re creating going to look like?

In Born Digital, leading Internet and technology experts John Palfrey and Urs Gasser offer a sociological portrait of this exotic tribe of young people who can seem, even to those merely a generation older, both extraordinarily sophisticated and strangely narrow. Based on original research and advancing new theories, Born Digital explores a broad range of issues, from the highly philosophical to the purely practical: What does identity mean for young people who have dozens of online profiles and avatars? Should we worry about privacy issues? Or is privacy even a relevant value for digital natives? How does the concept of safety translate into an increasingly virtual world? Is “stranger-danger” a real problem, or a red herring?

John Palfrey is Clinical Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He is a regular commentator on network news programs, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, NPR and BBC. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Urs Gasser is an associate professor of law at the University of St. Gallen, where he serves as the director of the Research Center for Information Law, as well as a faculty fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He has published and edited, respectively, six books and has written over fifty articles in books, law reviews, and professional journals. He lives in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

24 July 2008

Recent videos on Fora TV

Fora TV
Fora TV (a.k.a. “the thinking man’s YouTube”) has some videos that are worth taking a look at:

Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody
Aspen Institute – Jul. 06, 2008
Clay Shirky discusses his latest book, Here Comes Everybody, about the way people organize themselves without formal structures to respond to catalyzing events.

Clay Shirky on social networks and the Obama campaign
Aspen Institute – Jul. 06, 2008
Clay Shirky discusses social software, including the system used by the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. He notes the way members of the community organized in response to Obama’s support for the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation.

Clay Shirky on Social Networks like Facebook and MySpace
Aspen Institute – Jul. 06, 2008
NYU Professor Clay Shirky discusses Facebook, Friendster and other social software.

Danah Boyd on social networks and immersive environments
Aspen Institute Jul. 04, 2008
Anthropologist of the online community Danah Boyd discusses ways young people use social network sites to connect with their friends and present themselves online. Boyd compares social networks like MySpace to immersive environments like Second Life. She also discusses mobile portability.

Danah Boyd on how teens interact online
Aspen Institute – Jul. 04, 2008
Danah Boyd discusses ways young people use social network sites to connect with their friends and present themselves online. She discusses various techniques teens use to talk and interact online.

Craig Barrett: Technology the Human Impact
Aspen Institute – Jun. 30, 2008
In an interview with Aspen Institute Trustee and venture capitalist John Doerr, Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, discusses the intersection of technology and society.

27 April 2008

First findings presented of study on kids in digital environments

Digital youth
A group of researchers from the University of Southern California and University of California at Berkeley presented their first findings from one of the largest ethnographic studies on kids in digital environments.

Kids’ Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures is a three year collaborative project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carried out by researchers at University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, the digital youth project explores how kids use digital media in their everyday lives.

The study pictures a new generation that is “self-publishing, programming, and pushing the boundaries of what can be done online”, which provides them “with a sense of competence, autonomy, self-determination and connectedness”.

But – shows the research – they’re not learning how to do this in school.

The full research will be published later this year.

- Read more: news.com | UC Berkeley News
- Talking notes, danah boyd, UC Berkeley

26 April 2008

Audio files of IA Summit sessions

IA Summit
The IA Summit was held in Miami, FL from April 10-14. Boxes and Arrows captured many of the main conference sessions.

Keynote: “Journey To The Center of Design”Jared Spool
Jared enlightens and entertains with his keynote address. It now seems the foundations of user-centered design are disintegrating. Notable community members are suggesting UCD practice is burdensome and returns little value.

Search patternsPeter Morville
Peter describes a pattern language for search that explains user psychology and information seek behavior, highlights emerging technologies and interaction models, illustrates repeatable solutions to common problems, and position us all to design better search interfaces and applications.

The information Architect and the Fighter PilotMatthew Milan
Matthew argues that fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd can teach us a great deal about how to understand, interpret and design for human decision making.

E-service: What we can learn from the customer-service gurusEric Reiss
In this passionate and entertaining presentation, Eric Reiss talks about the design and execution of a system of activities – people, processes, and technology – that ultimately build brand, revenues, and customer satisfaction.

Audiences & artifactsNathan Curtis
Nathan Curtis explores both the articles we produce and the audience we produce them for, revealing what works and what doesn’t.

Data driven design research personasTodd Zaki Warfel
Todd Zaki Warfel engages his audience sharing new visualization techniques he has been using that have personas even more effective and valuable to the design process.

31 March 2008

Beyond blogs: the conversation has moved into the flow

Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd, an internationally recognised authority on social applications and their impact on business, media, and society, published today an interesting reflection on the fact that conversation online has moved away from the blogs that once seemed the nexus:

“Basically, conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation — the comments thread on blog posts — to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social.

Personally, I don’t think the genie can be put back in the bottle. Twitter et al are simply more compelling a conversational medium than blog comments. While the close relationship of blog posts and their associated comments may seem like a positive attribute, it is actually very limiting and closed. In general, people have to blunder into an interesting comment thread by moving to the post, opening the link to the comments, and manually scrolling down through them. A lot of time and effort, all based around the metaphor of wandering around in the web of pages. It’s like a trip to the library.

Twitter and other similar apps are based on the web of flow: information of interest comes to us, not the other way around. And it flows through people, through relationships: it’s not a bunch of clicks on URLs, scrolling, and so on. It’s a move away from hunting and gathering and into relationship agriculture: information grows in our flow applications instead of us spending time hunting it down.” [...]

Today’s blog technologies were not designed with flow in mind: they are based on Web 1.0 principles, and although they have helped to engender a revolution in sociality and flow, they don’t support it very well.

Read full story

Jason Kaneshiro posted a similar reflection recently.

(via Bruce Sterling)

But — just perhaps — the situation is not so clear-cut: BBC News launched a new home page today and the announcement article already has 533 comments, that is five hundred and thirty three (and it’s still increasing).

11 January 2008

“Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born”

Digital Youth
In a blog post, Danah Boyd (a Berkeley Ph.D student and a Harvard Fellow) relates the story of a mother who describes how her daughter’s approach to shopping was completely different than her own:

“Using Google and a variety of online shopping sites, Mary researched dresses online, getting a sense for what styles she liked and reading information about what was considered stylish that year. Next, Mary and her friends went to the local department store as a small group, toting along their digital cameras (even though they’re banned). They tried on the dresses, taking pictures of each other in the ones that fit. Upon returning home, Mary uploaded the photos to her Facebook and asked her broader group of friends to comment on which they liked the best. Based on this feedback, she decided which dress to purchase, but didn’t tell anyone because she wanted her choice to be a surprise. Rather than returning to the store, Mary purchased the same dress online at a cheaper price based on the information on the tag that she had written down when she initially saw the dress. She went for the cheaper option because her mother had given her a set budget for homecoming shopping; this allowed her to spend the rest on accessories.”

Boyd analyses this further:

In the 1980s, Alan Kay declared that, “technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” In other words, what is perceived as technology to adults is often ubiquitous if not invisible to youth. In telling this story, Mary’s mother was perplexed by the technology choices made by her daughter. Yet, most likely, Mary saw her steps in a practical way: research, test out, get feedback, purchase. Her choices were to maximize her options, make a choice that would be socially accepted, and purchase the dress at the cheapest price. Her steps were not about maximizing technology, but about using it to optimize what she did care about.

Read full story

The blog entry is also a Fieldnote for the Digital Youth Project.

(via FutureLab)

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

23 May 2007

Vodafone’s Receiver magazine is “at home”

Vodafone Receiver magazine
The latest issue of Vodafone’s Receiver magazine (#18) is entitled “at home” and is introduced as follows:

Digital media are entering the connectivity as a matter of course era, and they are entering the “home zone”: the home (for many young people: the bedroom) has become the centre of their connected world. Once upon a time communications technologies belonged to the world of work – they now provide people with socialising tools they have long taken for granted. Technology becoming intuitional and ubiquitous prompts sociologists to speak of a privatisation of the public through communications and a fragmentation and/or expansion of the concept of home. How come?

Some of the articles it contains:

  • Socializing digitally
    Danah Boyd
    So what exactly are teens doing on MySpace? Simple: they’re hanging out. Of course, ask any teen what they’re doing with their friends in general; they’ll most likely shrug their shoulders and respond nonchalantly with “just hanging out”. Hanging out amongst friends allows teens to build relationships and stay connected. Much of what is shared between youth is culture – fashion, music, media. The rest is simply presence. This is important in the development of a social worldview.
     
  • Homecasting: the end of broadcasting?
    José van Dijck
    The internet never replaced television, and the distribution of user-generated content via sites such as YouTube and GoogleVideo, in my view, will not further expedite television’s obsolescence. On the contrary, they will introduce a new cultural practice that will both expand and alter our rapport with the medium of television — a practice I refer to as “homecasting”.
     
  • Connected strategies for connecting homes
    Mark Newman
    Do consumers actually want a connected home? I’m not sure that many of us even understand the concept. But what we do want is the freedom to time-shift and place-shift the services we already have. We want to be able to take the services we use at work into our homes. And the services we receive at home into the office or away with us on business or on holiday.
     
  • Keeping things simple
    John Seely Brown
    Well-designed media provide peripheral clues that subtly direct users along particular interpretive paths by invoking social and cultural understandings. Context and content work efficiently together as an ensemble, sharing the burden of communication. If the relationship between the two is honored, their interaction can make potentially complex practices of communication, interpretation, and response much easier. This is the essence of keeping things simple.
     
  • Appliances evolve
    Mike Kuniavsky
    Today, information is starting to be treated in product design as if it was a material, to produce a new class of networked computing devices. Unlike general-purpose computers, these exhibit what Bill Sharpe of the Appliance Studio calls “applianceness”. They augment specific tasks and are explicitly not broad platforms that do everything from banking to playing games.
     
  • Socializing digitally
    Leslie Haddon
    There have been numerous occasions where technologies have entered our everyday lives through the influence of users, or at least some users, in ways that were unanticipated by industry. In relation to a number of important innovations it is users themselves who have developed or adapted the technology to fit into their lives and their homes. But as we shall see, that is only one side of the coin. Users can also be quite discriminating.
     
  • The new television
    Louise Barkhuus
    From ancient tragedies and comedies to theatre and, later, movies, it is evident that people enjoy being entertained by stories — regardless of the medium. Television is yet another step in the evolution of media that tell these stories, and just as television did not kill the movies (although it had an impact by decreasing their prevalence), interactive games and the internet will not render television obsolete. We will merely see innovative versions of moving pictures that can satisfy the needs of the 21st century’s embedded acquaintance with a multitude of media.
     
  • Pleasant, personalized, portable – the future of domotic design
    Fausto Sainz de Salces
    The home environment can greatly benefit from mobile technology that enhances the user’s experience through easy interaction with the immediate environment. Designing the home of the future, integrating communication devices, is not an easy task. It is a challenge that includes consideration of home dwellers’ opinions, preferences and tastes

The magazine now also comes with its own blog.