danah boyd: Q&A Session

The following is a blog-best-effort transcript of danah boyd in Brisbane on the 6th August 2007. This is not a verbatim transcript.

This blog post, and Flickr images by Nick Hodge are licensed under the Creative Commons License:

1. Where are geeks/freaks/queers now?

  • gay men still on friendster
  • tribe.net / myspace for “freaks”
  • geeks whatever is the coolest newest thing. twitter etc.
  • segmentation: US split based on class lines; danah mentioned media taking the wrong perspective of her recent postings
  • world where the culture is of celebrity to get out of current “class”
  • in AU, split more on age

2. where are those who are not online?

  • 93% US teenagers have internet access (of various speeds/feeds/modes)
  • 7% know what it is, but are restricted (eg: evangelicals in US)
  • the digital divide is method of access (school/library only)
    • hyperconnected, basic, (and a few others)
    • evidence that with connectivity, digital society has reduced young gay suicide
    • (danah noted: doing ethnographic studies, worried about kids with no friends, online or offline)
    • hanging around with friends is important; SNS is US/English based vs. mobile culture (nb: mobile phones now advertised with myspace logo in AU on the weekend)

3. Virtual Worlds

  • immersive virtual worlds such as WoW, gamer sites: another place to hang out with friends (more WoW than SL)
  • Second Life: educators watching educators watching educators…
  • SNS when kids use it for fun
  • “is this technology something general users use?”

4. Libraries in myspace, OK?

  • most teens know that you exist
  • when non-profits/politicians/etc are there, but they need to converse, not just be there. need to digitally shake hands
  • some people in the SNS will use the link as a marker


    5. Addicted to MSN/WoW (what to do with kids “addicted”)

  • online is a place to interact with friends, and avoid schoolwork. this has been common for many generations where homework existed
  • WoW/MSN is hanging out with their friends
  • more worrying are those who have no friends
  • problem deeper than “the technology” if there is no communication and understanding
  • question on how society acts in the “digital street” to look out for kids who need help.

6/7. SNS, use within schools?

  •  works when teachers respond online, not just “appear”
  • remember, SNS is for fun/friends. not school work
  • engage in the conversation, don’t be judgemental.
  • worst thing is forcing “deception” where kids create shadow indentities – are we forcing kids to do this?


8. Generation “Y” in the workplace

  • lifestages; online vs offline; and use of SNS changes when life interferes
  • mobile; out and about greater importance with professionals who are not at their desks
  • email is NOT social; its work. it’s hell. spam, parents, corporate emails etc
  • IM is the new email. more important than email. Phone is a jarring interruption


9. Property/ IP holding back?

  • remix generation; kids mixing pointers (URLs) rather than base content
  • ownership is interesting in a world where copying is easy


10. education: in schools, cyberbullying etc == ban on access to SNS

  • kids route around censorship; proxies, etc. ask them how they do it
  • mobiles change the ground rules
  • teachers must push back


11. future of SNS?

  • mobile
  • 10 years all this will be natural and therefore calmed down
  • embrace the new digital publics.

danah boyd: Generation MySpace

eduausem2007 004

The following is a blog-best-effort transcript of danah boyd in Brisbane on the 6th August 2007. This is not a verbatim transcript.

This blog post, and Flickr images by Nick Hodge are licensed under the Creative Commons License:


10:00am start. Rec’d tag, http://blogs.educationau.edu.au/feed/

new policies, 68yo PM use youtube.com to announce policies (nb: cheaper than full advertisements, but same commentary = cheap). Software alone doesn’t fix stuff. its about good teachers (true)

explosing of flickr,myspace,facebook,youtube: self publishing: live work and learn?

Intro danah boyd: expert on social networks. yahoo, tribe, google. online identities, communities, how people represent themselves online and to each other.

Generation MySpace

History of social networking, why big, interesting

Why youth are using these sites

education: thinking about, how used and applied.

Social network site: 6degress: 1997, flittered away

Hundreds emerged for many

Networked publics: publics in a networked society. eg: parks, civic places. SNS online publics.

usenet first of the networked publics; first hierarchy. geeky space. eg: comp.lang.perl. create networked publics. interests outside computer stuff.

social norms; in hierarchy, talk related. rec.pets.cats.  Ruptured by spam, not geeks.

alt.tastless invade rec.pets.cats >> attack; spoilers: Harry Potter. ruining social expectations of another group.

people fled usenet to mailing lists (yahoo! groups) mailing lists have moderators, kick people off. vouching via email address. not as public as usenet. what are the rules?

web=? community, conversation, commerce?? tech boom, crash. things got worked out.

rethinking through on blogosphere based people, based on “friends” — who are you friends, audience is. not on common interest, about people.

different narratives on web2. companies use as label. is it technology? business? make us feel better of the crash.

web2 is about reorganising the web around people, friends.

friendster; earliest days of web2. web geek make greater than match.com; better version. more purposeful.

3 key earlier adopter domains: self-describes geeks/freaks (eg: burning man) / queers. They thought it was their site. 20-30 somethings, not working, jobs clicking on the web. negotiatiing the narrative of friends. concept of play.

technology reflects the values of the creators: deep desire on friendster to get as many friends as possible. someone become icons – burning man, ali g (blogger culture). friending them to make them bigger. more fake characters. harvard university. jesus with a baseball bat. artistic : salt and pepper, love letters. people didn’t have jobs.

friendster: whack-a-mole, rid of popularity game, fake characters. kill the fun. technical difficulties: outside US, friendster still around.

myspace: people who friendster didn’t want. kicked off friendster, rock bands — onto myspace.com. no kicking off. features around music; indi rock music – appeals to young crowds. 21+ indi band followers, down the ages. 18yo 16yo 14yo. ignore younger because they don’t SNS.

Cool in LA region, worked down. teenagers where there as a place to hang out. If you are not on myspace you don’t exist (late 2005) everywhere else in the world, mobile phone.

myspace US == mobile phone outside.

55% online us teens 12-17 have a profile; 70% girlds 15-17. using to hang out with friends they see every day.

social networks,. not meeting people, its communicating to your network.

profiles: unique URLs, age/sex/location. made up as its fun.

friends list: public list of people I care about, and I hope care about me and listen to me.

wall/testimonial: conversation to the (wall ==write all) friends

myspace: copy+paste, make it loud and obnoxious. like the bedroom. same feeling, personal expression of self. who is the audience. remix culture, says who you are.

SNS where people hang out. shooting the shit, dealing with status. done in different environments (park, malls) for many years. friends to gather in a larger collection.

properties online different to physical space. in 20s, the pub. hung out, came together. have important values.

what properties: 4 key

persistence: what you say sticks around. ephermeral publics, vs. for ever.

searchability: where are the teenages. searchable. all sorts of audiences, parents, teachers, bosses.

replicability: copy-paste, original/modified? teenage breakups online. gets out of he said/she said game. eg: IM text into blog. who got the final say. delete someone as friend. not being in control. bullying. 3 way calling, bullying example

invisible audiences: assumptions, education, context: visible audience. no idea who is recording, and where it will go. context: adjust what we are saying based on context. society instructs us. to break the rules, we’ve got to know them. mediated environments control how we converse.

teenagers: invisible audiences, social scripts. how to speak to the unknowns. generation growing up and dealing with stuff that only celebrities and famous people had to deal with. everyone is famous for 15 people. myspace. Top 8 passive/aggressive social acceptance.

performing to people you know, this is how it will effect you.

high schools: age segregation from 1930s. deeply culturally embedded in the US. mentors friends 2 yrs around their age. No good reason to interact with people older than you.

US, other english speaking world: age segregation.

US, children are locked in doors. hypercontrolled. few places to chill. fear of abduction. communities don’t exist in suburbia. no places to hang out. primary socialisation, at homes. parents regulate; parents are responsible. tension between teenages and adults. kids locked down.

“mum doesn’t let me out, so I am on myspace” — hang out on myspace

sexual predators: evidence shows not a real issue; teenagers: want to go somewhere their parents are not. (ref danah’s site)

teenagers: deception so not searchable. technology put in place to be really easy searched. comp.lang.perl vs alt.sex.bondage

privacy: having control over who has access to your data. those of have control of teenagers, leechers etc.

pretend like it doesn’t exist doesn’t work. How do we deal these kinds of publics.

education of youth: not how they learn about maths and history. how to deal with social works. they have a public life; with confidence, willingness to make mistakes.

mistake: ban these sites in english speaking. they are evil. we don’t understand them, so they are wrong. broad data doesn’t reflect this.

how do we rethink this. they are publics, different architectures. request to teachers: learn from the students. they can teach you unbelievable things. youth populated.

why is this important.

we want our youth to be civically engaged. to be civically engaged, need to be public.

US: civic life, age segregated: not a part of civic and political life.

must be socialised in the public life; not tranditional civic lecture, what is happening now. negotiating publics. only school/after school activities. why do people outside their school matter.

US young people written out of immigration protest: teen based a few days later, March 2006. walk to civic space. IM/phones. 15000 LAX alone. Adults covered: “skipping school”.

Must engage: they understood that their parents were going to get kicked out of the country.

Sep2006: newsfeed in facebook. in-SNS out-rage 700,000 college kids joined a group to make a statement; company 72 hours to implement a feature. Users say its unacceptable. newsfeeds stayed, by privacy added. political activity (ignored)

public/private: privacy doesn’t look the same anymore. education around this: rather than saying they are bad because they are public. one assumed youth had no public face/no public life. now they need to know what is public/private

companies questioning how we deal with this new public.

proposals: profile, how would you feel if? situational role playing on profiles. there is no write/wrong/easy/hard answer. what is the consequence of what you are doing (editor: I like this)

visual literacy to understand degrees

everyday space mirrored and magnified. some good/some bad. offline problems, online problems. a reflection.

digital street outreach. why are we looking online only for tagging/grafitti get kids into trouble?

why are we not helping kids in their online streets?

SNS are not good tools for educating. Politicians. not even doing a good jobs. not engaging.

Not used in the classroom; education around them.

Blogging good tools. public/private tensions. essay that everyone in class can see. how about everyone in the world. education paradigm. what is your audience.

Wikipedia. US/AU ban it. its terrible. its bad. teens told its bad, but they using it? why are we not using this in schools for public knowledge.

Israeli/Palestinian conflict; wikipedia; thinking about different views and voices. Talk: page, history. who is invested in this process. Educators understanding these technologies.

education students on who knowledge is produced. I am not hte only voice on this matter?

rethink what public life is about.

one is information, information access.

its about community and communciation.

socialising teens into adult life; education is more than what is a standard model.




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On Location

Panorama: Gold Coast, Sunset

The above is the sunset-view from my room. To the left is the hinterland, and to the right is the beach itself.

On Location, at the Gold Coast preparing for a busy, educational week at Microsoft TechEd. Being my first TechEd, anything could and probably will happen. I do know I will leave more educated than I arrive.


Paul Hester signed snare

Whilst I watched the SBS TV series on the making of the Crowded House album, Woodface, there were much revels going on around me. It seemed to be a beer bash-come-stag party. So I turned up the TV with Neil Finn hopefully calming the din. Neil gets the impact of his music. The mercurial Finn brothers.

Up at 9am this morning thanks to a fire alarm. I could smell the smoke, but thought it was someone smoking on a non-smoking floor.  By the time I got my important items (pair of pants on, room key, wallet, camera, phone – in that order) ready to stroll out — the firemen were looking around for the smoking culprit. No one seemed ultra alarmed, so stayed put.

Today, it’s about planning. To quote Uncle Mike: “Piss Poor Planning Precedes Poor Performance”. Checking the camera equipment comes first.

Having installed the new Adobe Production Premium Suite, I tried out OnLocation. And this piece of technology Adobe purchased rocks. It essentially turns your Firewire/Laptop into a hard disk recorder and monitoring station. No more capturing slowly in post-production. Straight into Premiere, encode and you’re outta there.

Tomorrow it starts: danah boyd in Brisbane.