danah boyd

Doctoral Candidate, School of Information, University of California-Berkeley

Incantations for Muggles
35 minutes, 16.4mb, recorded 2007-03-28
danah boyd

danah boyd, who has done extensive research on the influence of the Internet on society, delivers a thought-provoking discussion on why it is important for the "wizards" of high tech to learn from and about the "muggles" who are actually using their marvels on a day-to-day basis.

She begins with the observation that the average user does not see the world from the perspective of the technology industry, and that all users are not the same. She discusses how people's priorities change in different stages of life, and how this affects how they use the tools of technology and the Internet.

She discusses how the imperatives of business growth in technology companies can cause unexpected changes in the marketplace for their products and services. Finally, she looks at what happens when technology and people come together, and how technology is changing the architecture of society.

It's important for wizards to understand the full effect of their spells and incantations and not just technical capabilities.


danah boyd is a doctoral candidate in the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley and a fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Communications. Her dissertation focuses on how youth engage in networked publics like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Xanga, etc. In particular, she is interested in how American teens formulate a presentation of self and negotiate socialization in mediated contexts where the audience is often unknown. This work is funded by the MacArthur Foundation as part of a broader grant on digital youth and informal learning.

Prior to Berkeley, danah received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University and a master's degree in sociable media from MIT Media Lab. She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel, Tribe.net, Google, and Yahoo! She also created and managed a large online community for V-Day, a non-profit organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide.

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This free podcast is from our Emerging Technology Conference series.