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Danah Boyd on Social Networks

August 8, 2008

I finally had a chance tonight to watch Danah Boyd’s full presentation on Social Networks from this year’s Aspen Institute Festival ( ). If you’re at all interested in this phenomena, particularly as they’re seen by people who are growing up around and within them (i.e. “digital natives”), this is required viewing. Boyd traces the history of socializing online from the early days of Usenet, through mailing lists and Friendster to our current smorgasbord of platforms. There are a few completely eye-opening slides (which are unfortunately only sometimes shown on camera), and she presents some thought-provoking perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of this phenomenon.

It is particularly interesting to me as we consider implementing some sort of student community resource for our school. Some of her notes about the lack of interoperability between the large social networks gives me an idea for how such a niche resource might stitch together a disparate community whose students are probalby coming to us with a well-established digital presence.

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