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What a fantastic profile of danah boyd ’00 (“Friending Your Child,” March/April). She is one of the cool cats of the youth tech population, who recognizes our information-drenched culture not as a scary new world but as an extension of what it means to be human.

Max Song ’14
Campus
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The profile of danah boyd ’00 reminds me that change can and must come from the grass roots, from the stance of a dissatisfied woman student in the Brown computer science department. I am inspired by this woman and the methods she uses to find intersections among technology, youth, and social change.

Amanda Chew ’14
Campus
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Revealing and cool. This will help me deal when my daughter one day gets to Brown.

Arthur Cooper
Campus
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Your profile of danah boyd supports my belief that success and fame are at least as much due to luck as to merit. Obviously, too, being a pop-culture phenom occurs in direct proportion to outlandishness.

It doesn’t help that boyd’s cover photo reminds me unsettlingly of Laura Dern in the HBO show Enlightened. I guess it’s like Faith Popcorn, Dean Kamen, Ray Kurzweil: industry has to have some divining rod or future-prognosticating go-to person, a resource for, in this case, what the kids are thinking and doing (and buying). Does boyd even have kids, or are her ninety-minute interviews with teenagers the sole basis of her expertise?

I’m curious to see whether—and how—she brings the actual discipline of ethnography to the study of teenagers, or whether her research and conclusions aren’t actually a bunch of arbitrary probing and subjective opinionating. Perhaps she’s just a teenager wannabe, inexorably outgrowing that developmental stage in spite of all due effort not to.
    

David Tell ’81
Marshall, N.C.
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Comments (2)
06/03/12
 
In response to David Tell '81's comments, I'm surprised and disappointed that you chose to publish this in the print edition of BAM. If David thinks that danah boyd hasn't put in many hours of hard work to attain her success, he is the one who has not done his research. Also, his attacks on her appearance and child-rearing credentials are exactly the kind of bullying boyd talks about constantly overcoming as a woman in technology.
 
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11/29/12
 
Saying boyd reminded me of Laura Dern is hardly an attack on her appearance. How much work she has done and her parenting experience are indeed unknown to me.  
 
Unfortunately, BAM failed to faithfully print even the edited, truncated version of my original letter that editor Charlotte Bruce Harvey ran by me for pre-approval. As a publisher and editor myself, I was quite upset and requested a republication of it in the form she offered and I approved. 
 
What in the end was omitted was a somewhat puckishly incredulous remark about boyd's quoted assertion that she has had sex, or relationships (I forget) with "many people of indeterminate sexuality." Think about it: "many people of indeterminate sexuality"? How common even is that??? 
 
While that point comes closest of all to being an ad hominem attack, I think most people who pause to consider boyd's statement might find it somewhat impeaches her credibility generally. I considered my comment on it the linchpin of my letter in keeping me from sounding merely like an envious crank chomping on sour grapes in my ostensible LACK of fame and fortune--though I merit them, I dare say.
 
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