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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Archive

The Messy Fourth Estate

(This post was originally posted on Medium.) For the second time in a week, my phone buzzed with a New York Times alert, notifying me that another celebrity had died by suicide. My heart sank. I tuned into the Crisis Text Line Slack channel to see how many people were waiting for a counselor’s help. Volunteer crisis counselors were pouring […]

The case for quarantining extremist ideas

(Joan Donovan and I wrote the following op-ed for The Guardian.)  When confronted with white supremacists, newspaper editors should consider ‘strategic silence’  ‘The KKK of the 1920s considered media coverage their most effective recruitment tactic.’ Photograph: Library of Congress George Lincoln Rockwell, the head of the American Nazi party, had a simple media strategy in […]

You Think You Want Media Literacy… Do You?

The below original text was the basis for Data & Society Founder and President danah boyd’s March 2018 SXSW Edu keynote,“What Hath We Wrought?” — Ed. Growing up, I took certain truths to be self evident. Democracy is good. War is bad. And of course, all men are created equal. My mother was a teacher who encouraged me to […]

The Reality of Twitter Puffery. Or Why Does Everyone Now Hate Bots?

(This was originally posted on NewCo Shift.) A friend of mine worked for an online dating company whose audience was predominantly hetero 30-somethings. At some point, they realized that a large number of the “female” accounts were actually bait for porn sites and 1–900 numbers. I don’t remember if users complained or if they found it themselves, but they concluded that […]

Panicked about Kids’ Addiction to Tech? Here are two things you could do

Flickr: Jan Hoffman (This was originally posted on NewCo Shift) Ever since key Apple investors challenged the company to address kids’ phone addiction, I’ve gotten a stream of calls asking me to comment on the topic. Mostly, I want to scream. I wrote extensively about the unhelpful narrative of “addiction” in my book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives […]

Beyond the Rhetoric of Algorithmic Solutionism

(This was originally posted on Medium) If you ever hear that implementing algorithmic decision-making tools to enable social services or other high stakes government decision-making will increase efficiency or reduce the cost to taxpayers, know that you’re being lied to. When implemented ethically, these systems cost more. And they should. Whether we’re talking about judicial decision making (e.g., “risk assessment scoring”) […]

The Radicalization of Utopian Dreams

Amazon Fulfillment Center, CC Scottish Government The following is a transcript of my lightning talk at The People’s Disruption: Platform Co-Ops for Global Challenges — held at The New School.  When you listen to people in tech talk about the future of labor, they will tell you that AI is taking over all of the jobs. What they gloss over is the gendered dynamics […]

Your Data is Being Manipulated

Excerpt from “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” Sergey Brin and Larry Page (April 1998) What follows is the crib from my keynote at the 2017 Strata Data Conference in New York City. Full video can be found here.  In 1998, two graduate students at Stanford decided to try to “fix” the problems with major search engines. Sergey […]

Data & Society’s Next Stage

In March 2013, in a flurry of days, I decided to start a research institute. I’d always dreamed of doing so, but it was really my amazing mentor and boss – Jennifer Chayes – who put the fire under my toosh. I’d been driving her crazy about the need to have more people deeply interrogating […]

How “Demo-or-Die” Helped My Career

I left the Media Lab 15 years ago this week. At the time, I never would’ve predicted that I learned one of the most useful skills in my career there: demo-or-die. The culture of “demo-or-die” has been heavily critiqued over the years. In doing so, most folks focus on the words themselves. Sure, the “or-die” […]