Danah Boyd Joining Microsoft Research

Posted Sep 22, 2008

[image credit: danah.org]

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has hired Danah Boyd for their Research division.  Boyd is an unorthodox writer that focuses on social media and social networks.  Boyd is not afraid to censor herself when it comes to writing.  This is perhaps what makes Microsoft interested in recruiting her. 

Below is an excerpt from her one of her papers entitled: Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace, written in June 2007.

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we’d call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

Social networking is becoming a high priority of Microsoft as indicated by their $240 million investment in Facebook.  As new social networks come up, Boyd is perfecting for researching them for acquisition or investment purposes.  Boyd will be working at Microsoft Research New England in Boston, MA and will be using her Mac to do the research.