February 25, 2014

danah boyd

Harvard Book Store welcomes social media scholar and youth advocate DANAH BOYD for a discussion of her latest book, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.


What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

"In explaining the networked realm of teens, boyd has the insights of a sociologist, the eye of a reporter, and the savvy of a technologist. For parents puzzled about what their kids are doing online, this is an indispensable book."—Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, author of Steve Jobs

About Author(s)

danah boyd is 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. Her research examines the intersection of technology, society, and youth culture. Currently, she is focused on research questions related to "big data," privacy and publicity, youth meanness and cruelty, and human trafficking.