It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

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.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

“Facebook’s power should worry us all” – The Age

An excerpt from the article published in The Age on 10 October.

If Facebook was a government agency, its power would be as undisputed as it would be frightening.

Even today Facebook continues to deny there is a problem with its tracking and is pushing ahead with “frictionless sharing”, whereby a user’s activities are published on their profiles without any prompting by them.


Both Facebook and Google prefer to talk about empowering you the user to exert control over your privacy settings, rather than what they are doing with your information and with whom they are sharing it. It’s all part of their quest to gain as much information about you as possible so that it can be traded for the purpose of helping more targeted advertising.

A small but growing number of people are withdrawing from Facebook and entering into a self-imposed exile but one wonders what it will take before the penny drops for the rest of us that we have willingly surrendered our identity to corporations that have a cavalier disregard to privacy.

Which raises the question – if Facebook and Google place a value on your identity then why shouldn’t you?

Read the entire article here.