This past weekend, danah boyd spoke at the SXSW Interactive festival on how social networks and the media can accelerate certain ideas (sometimes falsely) that create fear and anxiety. Her talk was covered by several technology journalists. Below are excerpts from a few articles.
Fear is not ration and we’re not particularly great at using data and facts to combat it; instead we rely too much on our own experienced and perceived experience fed to us through media and our personal networks. The 2012 elections are already strongly themed to spreading fear and using fearmongering effectively, much of it spread through social networks. Techies as a community need to find ways to deal with and combat fear.
(Statesman.com, March 10, 2012)
Information overload makes us numb, but things that freak us out have a rare ability to break through and capture our attention, Boyd said. As she put it, “The attention economy provides fertile ground for the culture of fear.”
“Fear cannot be combated through data,” she said. In fact, examining historical data shows that kids bullying each other actually isn’t on the rise, Boyd contended. It’s just that now parents have a window into their children’s online actions, so they’re freaking out about the rise of cyberbullying.
(All Things D, March 11, 2012)
Podcast of Dr. boyd’s talk is available online at the SXSW Interactive site.
danah boyd is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. Dr. boyd 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.