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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some transparency

In an effort to be transparent, i feel the need to note that i resigned from Google today. I very much love Google and Blogger but i reached the point where my talents and their needs no longer aligned in productive ways. I can’t say i won’t be back, but for now, it doesn’t make sense. That said, i will really miss everyone there.

I have also decided to accept a temporary consulting gig with the Yahoo Research Labs Berkeley to work alongside my friend and co-teacher Marc Davis.

Before anyone gets all conspiracy on me, this decision is not in spite of Google. I still love Google, but i feel as though i am better off consulting for a research lab right now and the direction of Yahoo’s is 100% in line with my interests (and hell, most of my department is there). It also makes more sense for me to take project-based consulting gigs than to broadly advise within a company.

For better or worse, i’ve never been good at loving a company and hating its competitors. I strongly believe that there are strengths and weaknesses to both companies and that their products make sense for different populations. I prefer the meta-structural perspective to the cult perspective. So i can’t say that i suddenly hate Google and love Yahoo – i respect them both and i see them as very different.

So, even though i’m sad to be leaving Google, i am excited to work on entirely new problems and think about entirely different populations’ needs.

I am also excited to see a tech company that makes sociable products create a research division meant to understand social issues. For good reason, more and more companies are hiring anthropologists and sociologists. Because there is very little known about social/tech, these internal social scientists can help address problems specific to the company; when it comes to social technologies, developing an innovative algorithm means nothing if you don’t get the social issues right. I wish more tech companies would realize that they need social research more than technology research these days.

Anyhow, as always, i won’t discuss internal affairs on this blog, but i believe in reflexivity and i believe that it is responsible to be transparent about who puts food on my table so that my biases are known.

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