My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and 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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familiar strangers

On Many-to-Many, i was surprised to find an article discussing Eric Paulos and Elizabeth Goodman’s Familiar Stranger work in relation to my own contemplations. Anyone who knows me knows that i adore Milgram’s work and have always had a deep appreciation for his four page piece on The Familiar Stranger. I think that the familiar stranger is such a strong concept that is rarely discussed, and yet so relevant.

That said, i should tease out my use of Milgram’s ideas from what Intel is doing. Intel is truly looking at the physical space, how we relate to familiar strangers offline. A large part of what i’m curious about is how we use the digital space as a secondary context for relating to strangers. Do we become more curious to know who they are when we see them online and recognize them as an offline familiar stranger? What role do these people play in our social network? How do we negotiate their physical presence once we have observed them online?

That said, if you’re a researcher, you must read Milgram’s work on The Familiar Stranger (it’s all of four pages, one of which is a large picture).

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removing my blogroll

Blogrolls are a very interesting and key part of blogs. They create the connections between people, allow for an articulated presentation of one’s social networks. They allow for people to navigate from blog to blog to find one another. They allow other sites that track the “value” of a given blog to see who connects to who. Really, they are great for anyone interested in fashion and blogs.

But they also cause other problems. First, i had a hard time creating a blogroll. I read a lot of blogs, many of which are private or Live Journals, Diary Lands or otherwise. I also read a lot of professional blogs or the personal blogs of my professional connections. My readership is quite odd – friends, colleagues, Ani DiFranco fans, people that i don’t even know.

When i was creating my blogroll, i didn’t want to list my friends’ blogs out of respect – they aren’t asking the world to read them. Those who did participate in listing culture were public, professional. Thus, my blogroll quickly became odd – it was a collection of the professional blogs that i read and those that i felt as though i should be reading more often. Plus, there were people who asked to be on my blogroll and then there were those who were upset because they weren’t listed (even though i read their blog daily). It became weird, outdated and nowhere near representative of me.

Seeing as this is the most personal of my public blogs, i decided that there is no need to list off some strange aspect of my identity in order to feel socially appropriate. I appreciate my readers; i really do. But i’ll also be honest that i’ve been quite weirded out by how many more people read this than i imagined would. But it is public, and i have met some amazing new folks through the blog world. So very strange….

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broken toe

To make matters worse, i think that i broke a toe while rushing around trying to get data off of my Mac. It’s swollen and i can’t stand on it. Thank goodness for ice and Aleve.

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broken mac is bad

When Macs break, they break. OMG. Mine fell last nite. Apparently, destroyed the backlight and the power supply. $1600 to fix; $1800 to replace. Not really coping with this right now. This was sooo not a planned expense.

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crazy week on the business side

It’s been a crazy week on the business side of the social networks space.

- Evite joined in.

- Patents are being thrown into the mix.

- Emode changed its name to Tickle and bought Ringo.

- Everyone’s getting money.

- Esther Dyson and the Always On folks had a little discussion (good blog entry by the Spoke folks.

- And, of course, it all got slashdotted

The Social Software Weblog has a lot of the business news so read there if you’re interested in those bits.

Personally, i think it’s great that there is this much interest in the space, but i also find it a bit terrifying. With big players putting their products into the ring and money flowing like it’s 1999, folks are starting to get far more secretive and their plottings feel far less user-centric. Competition is becoming more of a factor that creating cool technology meant to help people. I worry what this will mean long term.

Meanwhile, i think that i will go back to where i started with all of this and focus far more on the users’ understanding of social networks, identity play and articulation.

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iTunes as fashion marker

iTunes Undermines Social Security is a great article on the fashion statement that one makes with one’s collections. For those interested in collections and fashion, make certain to read Fernanda Viegas’ master’s thesis.

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mom finds out about blog

I’ve always ranted about how there are two people that no one wants to have access to their digital presentation of self: mom and boss. Apparently, The Onion concurs.

Continue reading mom finds out about blog

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social networks vis

Check out these visualizations of social networks. They are views of a Hungarian-only online social network community called

The researcher, Daniel Varga, wrote me to tell me about them. He’s been doing extensive work analyzing the community that he’s visualized and notes that a power-law approach is not suitable for

Totally fascinating. He’s working on a paper based on his experiments in case anyone is interested in speaking with him. He’s welcome to any feedback!

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hipster bingo

A friend of a friend pointed me to Hipster Bingo – such a riot! This is great in conjunction with The Hipster Handbook (which i read instead of socializing last weekend at a friend’s).

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it made me smile

It’s always the little things that make me smile. Like this treasure.

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