Danah boyd

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danah boyd is a Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She recently completed her PhD at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley). Her research examines social media, youth practices, tensions between public and private, social network sites, and other intersections between technology and society.

Boyd's dissertation Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics[1], she investigated how American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube. Her interests related to the architectural differences between unmediated and mediated publics affect sociality, identity and culture. Her dissertation research was funded as a part of the MacArthur Foundation's Initiative on New Media and Learning. Her research was supervised by Mimi Ito, Annalee Saxenian, Cori Hayden, and Jenna Burrell.

In recent years, she's studied Twitter, blogging, social network sites (e.g. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook...), tagging, and other forms of social media. She's written papers on digital backchannels, social visualization design, sexing of internet interactions and creating artifacts for memory work. She also blogs and tweets frequently on a wide variety of topics. Along with other members of the MacArthur Foundation-funded project on digital media and learning, she helped co-author Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out.[2]

She did her Master's Degree at the MIT Media Lab's Sociable Media Group with Judith Donath[3]. Her master's thesis focused on how people manage their presentation of self in relation to social contextual information in online environments. As an undergraduate, she studied computer science at Brown University, advised by Andy van Dam. Her undergrad thesis focused on how prioritization of depth cues is dependent on levels of sex hormones in the body and how this affects engagement with virtual reality.


  1. danah boyd. (2008). Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics. PhD Dissertation. University of California-Berkeley, School of Information. Accessed Feb 2010. http://www.danah.org/papers/TakenOutOfContext.pdf pdf
  2. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Digital Youth: iSchool at Berkeley.edu. Accessed Oct 2011. http://digitalyouth.ischool.berkeley.edu/report.
  3. Supervised also by Henry Jenkins and Genevieve Bell/