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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answers to bizarre questions

Some of the questions posed when I requested brain fodder were, shall we say…. odd. In fact, it felt a bit like an “About Me” quiz. So I couldn’t resist answering….

Alison Bechdel or Jorge Cham? Jorge Cham. It might be different if I ever left the house or could face thinking about my identity. There is no danah, only Zool. I mean dissertation. Besides, did you see today’s PhD Comic? Running low on excuses… like asking for brain fodder…

Why is belly-button lint always blue? Well, if you’re wearing black clothes, black is never true black… typically blue. And then you mix with other colors and voila. Try wearing only white clothes for a week. And read The Incredible World of Navel Fluff. Some people have far too much time to think about these things.

Are you Jewish? Not according to the Israeli Orthodox. But, really, what queer, feminist is? More seriously, my parents aren’t Jewish, but my partner is and we celebrate all of the Jewish holidays.

Sweet or Salty? It was always sweet until recently. I think I’m getting old. Or adjusting to living in a desert.

Where did zephoria come from? When I was in college, zephyr meant three things to me: 1) the west wind; 2) an IM client; 3) the puppy dog that I lived with. In other words, zephyr combined my geekiness, my love of nature and animals, my desire to go to California, and my communication-driven-ness. Euphoria was what zephyr made me think of. Thus, zephoria. Plus, I always liked words that started with ‘z’.

Favorite color? Silver, especially the silver that sparkles rainbows. Like the way that I imagine Edward’s skin to look when he walks into the sun in Twilight. Not quite diamond silver, but the metallic silver that you can only get in nature, not car paint or clothing.

Who killed edupunk? Mmm… fun David Lynch plots ensue….

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5 comments to answers to bizarre questions

  • Thanks for explaining the belly button lint.

    Seriously, Danah, I just read your past posts on Twitter (from about a year ago) and think you’ve underestimated it. Your blog and papers are brilliant, but you haven’t adopted the most fluid SM tool. Pu-lease reconsider posting on Twitter more often, a lot of people would be interested in your short takes on social media trends, or short intelligent bursts in general. I promise to follow. 🙂

  • Tad

    Ben– that’s why I (and I hope this doesn’t make me sound creepy or stalkerish) have the RSS of danah’s (and some other edubloggers’) del.icio.us on my feed reader.

    I like the feeling of reading what the people whose work I respect are reading… And it’s fun to read an article and then see ’em refer to it in a blog post a couple days later.

    I personally love Twitter, but I’m a semi-late adopter, and I know some people just don’t care for it. I think it’s one of those things that will really get you excited or really turn you off, depending on your tastes.

  • Tad

    Also, having followed both Jorge and Alison’s work for years, and having met both of them, I think the best answer to that question is “both.”

  • Nav

    Heh. I was just being silly with the belly button lint question, but that’s really interesting. I was actually really curious about Eric’s suggestion that we need to think about a ‘post-textual’ identity. Coming from a literary perspective, everything seems textual, but I also keep bumping up against the limits of that perspective online. Fascinating stuff.

    Oh, I second the (gentle) exhortation to start Twittering – someone once described it as ‘asynchronous intimacy’ and it’s a description that has stuck with me. It can be really great sometimes. I’m at twitter.com/scrawledinwax

  • well, to me zephyr always had been that sweet marshmallow-alike called зефир (zefeer) in Russian 😉