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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call for Blogher speaker on sensitive topics

As Elisa wrote, i’m leading a panel at Blogher on blogging about sensitive topics and we’re looking for potential panelists who are willing to talk candidly about the most sensitive of topics – depression, addiction, self-injury, eating disorders, illness, suicide attempts, infertility, etc.  We’re looking for people who’ve written about these topics and those who’ve tried to support loved ones.  We want to talk about the values of writing about sensitive issues, the challenges of being read, the concerns about responding to someone’s intense writings.  Especially around issues self-injury, eating disorders and suicide attempts, we’d like to get into how writers feel when they are reported by concerned loved ones. 

We know that support happens. But we also know that that there are those who believe that bloggers and online community members can become enablers, or at the very least, get in over their heads.

Rather than reaching out to people with a "So, you talk about suicide a lot, wanna talk on a panel?" type question, we wanted to throw it out more broadly and see who might be willing to talk.  So, this is a call for speakers who would be willing to discuss their experiences handling the touchy topics online. And please note: we are open to only identifying you by a a pseudonym in conference materials.

If you’re interested, feel free to email me or Elisa.

Update: To those who have responded, i will get back to you shortly – we need to meet and figure out exactly what we want and how we want to balance speakers. Please be patient.

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6 comments to call for Blogher speaker on sensitive topics

  • Hi Danah! This is such a coincidence… last year I wrote about virtual communities and anorexia and bulimia in Brazil. I presented the research in two major congresses and was going to present the results at IRICs, but I couldn’t go. I have a lot of material from this research about how social networks provide through internet, support, information and other materials for anorexic girls and boys, in order to keep the disease and to fight against family and doctors. If you are interested, we can exchange some information and material.

  • Hi– first time poster…. I just launched a project yesterday where I use a blog as a way to help manage my depression: Jangly Ganglia. My reasoning and more info is available on the About pages.

    I am hoping to make this into a community where anyone who wants to participate in this project will be able to. This is just at the beginning stages– and this seemed like a good place to let some folks know about it. Forgive me for doing this the first time I commented here :).

  • Checking up on my bookmark archive, fact the first page I bookmarked while my first night surfing. John Perry Barlows pages led to yours.Great work soldier! The truth is!
    Love to be of any assistance. Peace out,
    Bruce

  • This sounds like a great topic for the BlogHer conference! I’m new to blogging, but old to the sensitive issues that you will be addressing (having experienced and worked with many people with mental health issues). I think it is important to look at how blogging is emerging as a resource to build social networks and social support among people struggling with histories of abuse, mental illness and the like.

  • tila

    I am not a professional writer but I am a blogger, I used to keep a diary on blogger for about a year and a half…
    I wrote frankly about my depression,I used it to plan my suicide attempts, I wrote about my drug abuse… everything from Ephedra to Cocaine, and of course the eating disorder and will to stay under 100 pounds (I am 5’10).
    It got a bit popular with pro ana girls and people in similar situations, in a wierd way… I did not go allong with my second suicide attempt because I knew if I was dead I wont be able to read new comments on my post.
    It helped me allot.
    My blog was discovered by family, I was sent to therapy and of course to a rehab centre for drug addiction… I ended my blog but miss it desperately, I started a new blog.. but not about sensitive topics.
    I am not completely healed, I am still ana…but that’s a part of me that I need…
    I read allot about eating disorders but all articles seem to be a bit ‘preachy’, I assure you I know all the dangers of my problem, and reading articles has yet to make me ‘see the light’.
    If you are interested in a real persons point of view, or first hand experience in this topic I’ll be happy to help.

  • I’m almost certainly coming to the conference, especially if I can get my school to pay (they would if I were presenting), and I would totally be okay with talking about the abuse and rape, especially as it relates to disability, and how my online community has handled my discussions of it (and possibly other people’s), and I could of course set that in the context of more general anthropological discussions of LiveJournal. I don’t know if you need someone who is more public about that than I am, though.