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Dr. danah boyd is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, a Visting Researcher at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. She received her doctorate in 2008 from the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley (under Peter Lyman and Mimi Ito).

Dr. boyd's dissertation project Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics analyzed how American youth use networked publics for sociable purposes. She examined the role that social network sites like MySpace and Facebook play in everyday teen interactions and social relations. She was interested in how mediated environments alter the structural conditions in which teens operate, forcing them to manage complex dynamics like interacting before invisible audiences, managing context collisions, and negotiating the convergence of public and private life. This work was funded by the MacArthur Foundation as part of a broader grant on digital youth and informal learning. The findings of the broader team are documented in a co-authored book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.

Her current work extends the work she did for her dissertation. She is currently examining how teenagers develop a sense of privacy in light of engagement in highly public online settings. She is also exploring the role of technology in teens' risky behaviors by looking at a range of practices that include sexting, bullying, self-harm, and teen relationship violence.

At the Berkman Center, Dr. boyd co-directed the Internet Safety Technical Task Force in 2008 with John Palfrey and Dena Sacco to work with companies and non-profits to identify potential technical solutions for keeping children safe online. This Task Force was formed by the U.S. Attorneys General and MySpace and is being organized by the Berkman Center. More recently, Dr. boyd co-directed the Youth Media and Policy Working Group with John Palfrey and Urs Gasser; this project was funded by the MacArthur Foundation from 2009-2011.

In 2011, Dr. boyd was selected as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum; she is on the Social Media Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum. She is on the Electronic Privacy Information Center's board of advisors. In 2010, Dr. boyd won the CITASA Award for Public Sociology. The Financial Times dubbed Dr. boyd "The High Priestess of Internet Friendship" while Fortune Magazine identified her as the smartest academic in tech. She was identified as one of Technology Review's 2010 Young Innovators under 35 (TR35).

Previously, she was an associate fellow at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society and on the board of directors of the New Media Consortium. In 2008-2009, she was a Commissioner on the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

Dr. boyd received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University (under Andy van Dam) and a master's degree in sociable media from MIT Media Lab (under Judith Donath). She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel,, Google, and Yahoo! She also created and managed a large online community for V-Day, a non-profit organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide. She has advised numerous other companies, sits on corporate, education, conference, and non-profit advisory boards, and regularly speaks at a wide variety of conferences and events.

Dr. boyd has published dozens of articles in a wide range of scholarly venues, blogs at and tweets at @zephoria

Projects & Tools

Born This Way Foundation Partnership

The Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center at Harvard to explore the best…

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors), is presented by the Born This Way Foundation & the Berkman Center for Internet and…


Feb 29, 2012

Final Report: Symposium on Youth Meanness & Cruelty

As part of the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation, The Symposium on Youth Meanness and Cruelty took place at Harvard Law School on February 29th, 2012. Generously…

Feb 28, 2012

What You Must Know to Help Combat Youth Bullying, Meanness, and Cruelty

In order to empower youth to create a kinder and braver world, we must begin by making sure that youth are safe. Youth are not safe when they are being bullied, harassed, or…

Apr 28, 2010

How the COPPA, as Implemented, Is Misinterpreted by the Public: A Research Perspective

Statement to the United States Senate, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Statement by danah boyd, Urs Gasser, and John Palfrey, urging consideration of the gap between the intentions of COPPA and how children and their parents perceive its…

Feb 24, 2010

Response to FCC Notice of Inquiry 09-94 “Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape”

The response synthesizes current research and data on the media practices of youth, focusing on three main areas -- 1) Risky Behaviors and Online Safety, 2) Privacy, Publicity and…

Jan 14, 2009

Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies

Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force was created in February 2008 in accordance with the "Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety" announced in January…

Dec 3, 2007

Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life

This article examines American youth engagement in networked publics and considers how properties unique to such mediated environments (e.g., persistence, searchability,…


Nov 2, 2011

Berkman Center to help Lady Gaga Establish Born This Way Foundation

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that it is collaborating with Lady Gaga, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The California Endowment to launch the…

May 25, 2011

61st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association

Attending ICA 2011 this week and trying to figure out which sessions to take in? A number of Berkman Center people are also participating in ICA 2011...

Jun 25, 2010

Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: draft literature review

What is known about online youth safety? danah boyd releases the Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative's DRAFT literature review on the topic -- for public comment and…

Jun 18, 2010

Four Essays Addressing Risky Behaviors and Online Safety

From danah boyd's blog: "...John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and I have been co-directing the Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative to investigate the role that policy can play…

Jul 8, 2008

Rebooting America: Ideas for Resdesigning American Democracy for the Internet Age

Personal Democracy Forum has released Rebooting America, including essays from Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Gene Koo, David Weinberger, and many more.

Mar 7, 2008

Berkman Buzz: Week of March 3, 2008

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations.


The Wall Street Journal

How 13 Became the Internet’s Age of Adulthood

The inside story of COPPA, a law from the early days of e-commerce that is shaping a generation and creating a parental minefield

Jun 18, 2019

Social and Ethical Challenges of AI

danah boyd of Data & Society

danah boyd of Data & Society discusses how society could engage AI to reduce, rather than exacerbate, existing social challenges.

Jan 11, 2017


May 3, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

Academic Uses of Social Media: Exploring 21st Century Communications

Webcast Event

Social media — from blogs to wikis to tweets — have become academic media, new means by which scholars communicate, collaborate, and teach. Hear from a distinguished faculty panel…

Apr 30, 2010 @ 9:00 AM


Back in April 2008, there was ROFLCon -- the first internet culture conference devoted to discussing what makes memes work, why they work, and where it's all going. ROFLCon II…

Feb 3, 2009 @ 12:30 PM

ISTTF: Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies

John Palfrey, danah boyd, Dena Sacco, Laura DeBonis

John Palfrey, danah boyd, Dena Sacco, Laura DeBonis, directors of the recently concluded Internet Safety Technical Task Force, discuss the findings and recommendations from the…

Jun 19, 2007 @ 12:30 PM

MyFriends, MySpace: American Youth Socialization on Social Network Sites

danah boyd, Berkman Fellow

danah boyd, Berkman Fellow, gave a talk on "MyFriends, MySpace: American Youth Socialization on Social Network Sites."