Michael saved in Pocket: ‘It’s Complicated’ (boyd 2014)

Following our Hangouts tutorial yesterday, and our discussions about the ethical issues surrounding our micro-ethnographies on ‘open’ spaces, Jeremy mentioned that danah boyd had written on this issue (comparing/contrasting a public park with these ‘open’ areas online). This inspired me to dig out boyd’s book It’s Complicated (2014), and particularly the relevant quote below – thanks Jeremy!


‘Teens’ desire for privacy does not undermine their eagerness to participate in public. There’s a big difference between being in public and being public. Teens want to gather in public environments to socialize, but they don’t necessarily want every vocalized expression to be publicized. Yet, because being in a networked public—unlike gathering with friends in a public park—often makes interactions more visible to adults, mere participation in social media can blur these two dynamics. At first blush, the desire to be in public and have privacy seems like a contradiction. But understanding how teens conceptualize privacy and navigate social media is key to understanding what privacy means in a networked world, a world in which negotiating fuzzy boundaries is par for the course. Instead of signaling the end of privacy as we know it, teens’ engagement with social media highlights the complex interplay between privacy and publicity in the networked world we all live in now.’ (boyd 2014: 57)

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