Danah Boyd’s dissertation

Danah Boyd is someone I discovered when I first got seriously involved with social media in 2004. She’s one of only a small handful of academic-focused people I regard as essential to pay attention to who I’ve followed since then.

Yesterday, she published online “Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics” (PDF), her PhD dissertation.

From the abstract:

[…] My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties – persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability – and three dynamics – invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private – are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

At 406 pages, the PDF is no casual read. But for insight into ethnography, social networks, behaviours of teenagers, how all these elements interact and what future developments may bring, I think it could be worthwhile.

Useful material if you’re a communicator with an interest in generational differences and how organizations and people mix.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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