Cool Cat?

May 23rd, 2012

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


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


Revealing and cool. This will help me deal when my daughter one day gets to Brown.

Arthur Cooper


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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Related Issue
May/June 2012