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.

Relevant links:


update: the sorta graduation

For months, I’ve been locked indoors trying to get enough of my dissertation finished so that I could walk in graduation. Last week, I handed something that sorta kinda looks vaguely like a maybe dissertation to my committee, much to the absolute joy of my family, I walked in Berkeley’s graduation. Of course, that does not mean that I’m graduated so don’t go calling me doctor. Oh, no, au contraire! This only means that I’ve walked and that my committee has full faith that I will be finished within six months. So, now, I have six months to file. ::gulp:: But it can be done!! It will be done!! I will finish!!

Graduation was a trip. My grandparents took their first flight in 13 years to come to California and join me on a very sunny day in Berkeley. I got to graduate with an amazing crop of Master’s students and four of my beloved PhDs. My former mentor Genevieve Bell gave a very inspiring talk filled with “anthropological advice” about how to approach the world like a fieldwork project. Post-graduation, I got some quality family time that involved a lot of food and wine tasting. It was a fantastic break, even if I’m now back to the grind.

As much as I’m a bit stir-crazy from all of the dissertation work, there’s a part of me that is absolutely loving the opportunity to hibernate and get clarity on what exactly I’ve been thinking about for the last five years. Lots of folks have told me that dissertations are archaic and silly, but I am soooo glad to be doing this. Having the opportunity to do some sustained thinking, get regular advice, and try to actually take my thinking to the next level has been a joyous thing. The downside is that it means that I have no life and am a complete hermit that has forgotten how to interact with humans. I now see how academics become the kooky creatures that they are. Tehehe.

Anyhow, I’m still gonna be a sucky communicator and blogger until I file this darn thing, but I feel as though progress is being made and graduation was a really nice reality check. Now I know that I. Am. Going. To. Finish. Grad. School. Darnit. W000t!

Print Friendly

22 comments to update: the sorta graduation

  • Congratulations! You can do it!

  • Congratulations, danah!

    There was a mantra I repeated while I was finishing my MA thesis:

    “Done is better than perfect”.

    That being said, I really look forward to reading your diss after it’s been successfully defended.

  • Yay! Congrats danah! I hope you take a little time to celebrate this milestone 🙂

  • Nice one, danah!

    Good luck with the final stretch …

  • Way to go! Some may joke that PhD means Piled Higher and Deeper…but it is quite an accomplishment…and an indicator of great things to come!

  • Pauline

    congratulations danah!

  • congratulations!
    good to hear that u’ve ‘stopped loathing dissertation hell’ 🙂

  • Margaret Weigel

    go danah/go danah/it’s your birthday… : )

    i have every confidence you will emerge from hibernation sooner rather than later, not only surviving the dissertation experience, but kicking its ass.

  • Congrats!

    I love how much stuff you get to wear during graduation day when you get a PHD.

  • Hollie

    My master’s advisor once said a getting a doctorate is based on how many hoops you are willing to jump through, and how often you are willing to jump through them repeatedly!! That being said, GREAT JOB on almost being done- I have complete faith that you will finish. Write well!

  • Congratulations, Danah! You’ve already done so much great work and blazed new trails for all of us interest in the future of any discipline. Keep up the great work!

    Kelly in Kansas

  • Mie

    Congratulations! Almost there… 🙂

  • Ken

    Great good luck, danah.

  • Danah, congratulations!
    I’m living the same situation, so I know how you feel!
    All the best,

  • In more ways than one, you and your work provide true inspiration… to social scientists, to those in and outside of tech, young and old, men and women.

    I look forward to reading more of your work in the coming years. Many congrats, you are there/almost there… arrived and arriving!

  • Holy jealousness, Batman. GaTech doesn’t let us walk without everything being blessed, signed, and wrapped up with a bow. So unless I find a wormhole that will let me wedge in a few extra weeks of writing, I will miss the July 7 filing deadline for August graduation ceremonies, and thus won’t be able to wear my hood till December even if I defend the diss in early August, which is my target. So sad, so sad.

    Congrats on at least having a draft! GI Joe says that’s half the battle or something. I’m still collecting the last data points.

    (Referred by Leslie.)

  • Congratulations, danah. がんばって as they say in Japan! (It roughly translates to ‘Keep it up!’)

  • Hey danah – I contacted you awhile ago (one of many random people that surely do) and have just come across your work again. I’m also in the last 6 months of my PhD dissertation (in Australia).

    Anyway, I really like your research and it’s great to know that someone whose work I like is going through this darn writing process too… All the best and congratulations on the walk!

  • Lazaros Kikas


    I finished my PhD four years ago. I know what it is like. Hang in there and follow your passion. It will be done when it is done.

    Take care and enjoy,


  • Clap! Clap! Clap!