View Full Version : Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics

01-19-2009, 09:16 AM
I'm really interested in this... I'm going to start working on reading this 400 page thesis. Thought maybe some of you guys would think it was interesting too.

from boing boing

Dr danah boyd's newly-minted PhD from UC Berkeley was awarded based on her fantastic thesis project, "Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics." danah's ground-breaking research on how kids (especially marginal kids) use the Internet has been featured here a lot -- she was one of the contributors to Mimi Ito's gigantic Digital Youth Project, and the attorneys general's report on the relative absence of pedophiles online. I read about half of the thesis on Christmas break and I've been champing for the chance to blog it here -- and now that it's public, I can!

Excerpt from the paper:

As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices - gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens' engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices - self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

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.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens' engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

read the whole thing here:

I Rule The School
01-19-2009, 10:22 AM
Sounds very interesting indeed... but it's not like only teenagers are concerned... or maybe they are and I just forgot to grow up/old.

01-19-2009, 11:04 AM
Yeah, I was talking to my sister about that this morning.
But I don't know. Its not like we've ALWAYS had the internet. I'm 24 and friendster first got big when I was 18 or 19. I've had AIM since I was 12. But that's different than myspace/facebook. Imagine what middle school would have been like with myspace. Yikes. I don't even want to imagine it. I don't know if they do any research on 18+ facebook/myspace users. But that would be interesting to look at. The long term effects of heavy social networking via the internet.
Yeah. I am definitely really interested in reading this article.

01-19-2009, 12:08 PM
I was watching Tyra the other day (lol) and this particular episode was about people who are addicted to the internet. There was one chick was seriously addicted to Facebook - like she could not live without checking her Facebook 400+ times a day. It was quite sad.