Many people see the roots of polarization and hate in the information ecosystem in which we are embedded. This leads us to conversations about disinformation, platform power, and the politics of speech. I see the roots differently. In my mind, polarization and hate are expressions of a fractured social graph, of people not being connected to one another in meaningful and deep ways. Divisions in social networks (connections between people, not technologies) have serious consequences.

The social graph of society is civic infrastructure, but too few people really understand how this needs to be nurtured and maintained. Plenty of people…

Nuts and Bolts by Kacey

If you look at the roster of the Biden-Harris transition team, it’s quickly apparent that the incoming administration is tech-forward. Given the systematic dismantlement of the federal government over the last four years, and the significant logistical and scientific needs underpinning a large-scale vaccine roll-out, it is unsurprising to hear that the new team is looking to bring in tech talent. Under the Obama Administration, the White House invested significantly in shoring up the Office of Science and Technology Policy, an office that has for all intents and purposes laid dormant for four years under the current Administration. The Obama…

Screenagers in the time of coronavirus

Teenager on her phone.
Teenager on her phone.
Photo: Rebecca Nelson/Getty Images

If you’re a parent trying to corral your children into attending “school” online, you’ve probably had the joy of witnessing a complete meltdown. Tantrums are no longer the domain of two-year-olds; 15-year-olds are also kicking and screaming. Needless to say, so are the fortysomethings. Children are begging to go outside. Teenagers desperately want to share physical space with their friends. And parents are begging their kids to go online so that they themselves can get some downtime. These are just some of the ways in which today’s reality seems upside down.

I cannot remember a period in my research when…

‘I benefited from the generosity of men who tolerated and, in effect, enabled unethical, immoral, and criminal men.’

Courtesy of danah boyd

Last night, I was honored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Alongside Oakland Privacy and William Gibson, I received a 2019 Barlow/Pioneer Award. I was asked to give a speech. As I reflected on what got me to this place, I realized I needed to reckon with how I have benefited from men whose actions have helped uphold a patriarchal system that has hurt so many people. I needed to face my past in order to find a way to create the space to move forward.

This is the speech I gave last night. I hope sharing it will help others…

On April 17, 2019, Data & Society Founder and President danah boyd gave a talk at the Digital Public Library of America conference (DPLAfest). This is the transcript of that talk.

Illustration by Jim Cooke

I love the librarian community. You all are deeply committed to producing, curating, and enabling access to knowledge. Many of you embraced the internet with glee, recognizing the potential to help so many more people access critical information. Many of you also saw the democratic and civic potential of this new technology, not to mention the importance of an informed citizenry in a democratic world. …

Editor’s note: On February 23, 2019, Data & Society Founder and President danah boyd gave a talk at the Knight Media Forum. This text is the written version of her talk, which you can watch here.

Good morning! I’m going to begin today with a little bit of a stretching exercise. Because I think it’s a moment to take the temperature of this room.

1. How many of you consume news every day? [All hands raise.]

Good! You’re in the right room. …

This is a crib of a talk that Data & Society Founder and President danah boyd gave at the Online News Association conference in Austin, Texas on September 13, 2018. For a video of the talk, click here.

In early September 2018, Facebook and Twitter were accused during a Congressional hearing of having anti-conservative bias. This should sound familiar to many of you in this room as you too have been accused for political purposes of being the “liberal media.” …

Trust Issues

I want to believe in journalism. But my faith is waning.

Illustrations by Jessica Siao

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 in, but the queue kept growing.

Celebrity suicides trigger people who are already on edge to wonder whether or not they too should seek death. Since the Werther effect study, in 1974, countless studies have conclusively and repeatedly shown that how the news media reports on suicide…

Last week, I had the honor of keynoting SXSW-Edu. I was asked to be provocative and stir debate. You can read a crib of my talk here or watch the video. In my talk, I asked the audience and educators more broadly to challenge their assumptions about media literacy. Over the last week, I’ve been wading through the various public and private responses that I’ve received before crafting a broader response. This is my attempt to do so.

Most of the criticism that I’ve received has come from those who are deeply invested in media literacy who were frustrated with…

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 question everything. But I quickly learned that some questions were taboo. Is democracy inherently good? Is the military ethical? Does God exist?

I loved pushing people’s buttons with these philosophical questions, but they weren’t nearly as existentially destabilizing as the…

danah boyd

researcher of technology & society | Microsoft Research, Data & Society, NYU |

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