My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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i love portland

As part Intel’s Urban Atmospheres, Chris Beckmann and Eric Paulos have been distributing matchbooks that say “i love/hate portland” on them. On the inside, there’s a message to text message your secret identity. When you do, it knows where the matches were distributed and sends you a message to indicate what you love/hate about Portland. You later get messages from other people about what they think.

So, i’m sitting in a cafe in downtown Portland writing my talk for tomorrow. It’s a pretty bougie cafe, complete with leather cozy chairs and a million types of coffee. The bathroom is covered in anarchist grafitti. There’s a note that says 50% of Portlanders arrived in the last 10 years – go back to California! Lots of comments about our president and our freedoms and whatnot.

This very crunchy early 20s kid comes in with his guitar and opens up his nice laptop, immediately commenting to my friend about his music (ah, iTunes sharing). I surf his music (since his comment is clearly meant to encourage that) – mostly small bands plus an assortment of Yes/Rush/Led Zeppelin. A girl comes in and sees him – he says he’s off to work, is she? She hasn’t worked since January; he remarks on how cool that is (i.e. escaping the man). On his way out, he picks up a thing of matches and exclaims “fucking pretentious hipsters.” I can’t help but ROFL.

I love Portland.

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7 comments to i love portland

  • Great story. I love Portland too, just a little, because of this book.

  • Report from the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting

    Portland, OR – Seems cool so far. Been here five minutes, ran into Julia on the elevator. Haven’t run into any pretentious hipsters yet. Must be a good conference. On the other hand, I hear Drek is here somewhere…

  • stefanos

    some of them hipsters might be fbi types

    you know, Brin is somewhere in seattle: I couldn’t make it due to my real world obligations.

    Hope you have fun:


  • Thats a perfect story. A friend of mine loves to rant about how much she hates ‘hipsters’ while falling very neatly into the stereotype herself. I wonder if that’s the in thing these days? Irritation at you’re own (sub?)-culture?

  • Jack

    here’s an analogy for everyone:

    Portland : Seattle
    LA : San Francisco

    I like Eugene more.

  • Wolf

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, *and* Seattle. Plus, I was born in Eugene. The analogy above makes zero sense to me.

  • This is at least the third time I’ve come across one of your blog posts via some manner of Google search. It was time to take action and leave a comment. I’m moving to Portland in May.