Liveblogging: Danah Boyd (Micosoft Research) SXSW Keynote

I'm sitting here in the exhibit hall at SXSW getting ready for the opening remarks keynote, which is getting ready to get underway. It will be delivered by Danah Boyd of Microsoft Research ...
Liveblogging: Danah Boyd (Micosoft Research) SXSW Keynote
Written by Chris Crum
  • I’m sitting here in the exhibit hall at SXSW getting ready for the opening remarks keynote, which is getting ready to get underway. It will be delivered by Danah Boyd of Microsoft Research

    Her SXSW Bio: One of the world’s foremost authorities on social networks, boyd works at Microsoft Research New England and also serves as a Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

    Note: Please forgive he typos that are sure to occur in this liveblog. Also keep in mind that this is paraphrased.

    Liveblogging starts:

    02: 08 She takes the stage.

    2:09 Humbled to be here.

    SXSW first and foremost about the people…passionate about what they’re doing. there’s a lot of trouble that goes on but that’s part of the joy.

    2:10: Have a good time, but avoid the tequila….

    I’m a social media researcher….spend most of my time trying to understand how people use social media in their daily lives. reflecting how to make that material public. blogging for 13 years. believe in being an activist.

    What keeps me up at night is how social media transforms society.

    Goal: sit back and think about a specfic set of puzzles. All of you are seeing how these tools are shaping society….

    Intersection of privacy and publicity.

    2:12:  privacy isn’t dead. people very much care about it online and off. what privacy means may not be what you think. it’s about control…understanding a social setting. and context. how to behave. understanding what the architecture will let you do….

    people feel they don’thave control and they feel violated.

    Recent privacy fail: Google Buzz

    A lot of people will lvoe buzz and use it, but it doesn’t mean that google didn’t mess up in terms of privacy.

    They’re aking a hit.

    2:14: Gives background of how buzz works….

    2:15: NOthing the buzz team was technologically wrong. there were all sorts of opt outs….shows a slide referencing "F— you Google" …

    Deconstruct what acutally happened:

    2:19: Talking about engineers looking at "ASL" in chat rooms…there’s something radically different than responding than going into their profile and looking.

    Ask users to share with their friends….It’s not the idea of getting that info. it’s the ritual of letting them know how the info will be acquired.

    Google managed to find the social equivalent of the uncanny valley…

    Personal networks are when you talk to people about what they spend time with

    Personal – listing contacts, etc.

    Behavioral – networks with people in the same room.

    What Google did was collapsed these…

    Just because people put material in public doesnt mean it was all meant to come together and be aggregated.


    What they did wrong:

    1. Google got in trouble by integrating a public facing system inside of one of the most intimate (gmail)….juxtaposing private with public…a lot of users believed google was exposing their private email..this was never technically the case, but it created confusion. people flipped out. google had to spend a lot of time and pr…

    2. GOogle assumed that people would opt out if they didnt’ want to participate. gives google benefit of the doubt, but cant help but notice that more companies think its ok to expose tremendously and then back pedal…

    Easier for users to flip out rather than to actually go and undo things…

    I kept meeting users who thtought if they opted out, it would cancel their gmail account.

    You need to ease them in. give them a way to understand…

    THey "foolishly" told users what they wanted to hear rather than asking them what they wanted to hear.

    Just because people want something publicly accessible doesn’t mean they want it publicized.

    Shows slide of Onion article mocking Google

    2:23: We see gossip being spread in all sorts of ways. We don’t always navigate privacy with people so well…we hold the architcture around us accountable. The Walls have ears. there is always the possiblity of eavesdroppers.

    Talks about being in a cafe…public place, but you expect certain types of people to show up. you expect people from the community but not your high school cheerleading team. When people asses a situation, they develop menal models…they need to know so they know how to "best behave".

    online environments are not nearly as stablized…we’re still trying to work through what we can trust in terms of architecture and people.

    02:27: Digital architecture doesn’t just have ears. also has a mouth. people aren’t good at managing when the system changes the rules on them.

    Recent privacy fail number 2: facebook’s privacy changes in december

    Gives a rundown of all of that.

    02:28: Asking non techy users: tell me what you privacy settings are? I have yet to find a single person who actually knows. That’s not Good knows. Facebook is known for privacy.

    Tells story of teen with abusive father…set up facebook account…found out that her content was made public. is her fear of what might have gone wrong acceptable? 

    Big difference between publicly available data and publicized data. I worry about this and who will get caught in the crossfire.

    PII vs. PEI PII – personally identifiable information vs. personally embarassing information

    02:32: When tech comes along and changes rules, it’s a huge fail

    Conversations that happen in social media are public by default, private by effort.

    What we see with teens is that they’re thiking through this. THey make conscious decisions.

    Critical to realize effected by age, life role, etc.

    People make material publicly accesssible, but they dont’ want the world to see it. there are poeple that they specifically don’t want to see it.

    02:36 "Making something that is public more public is a violation of privacy."

    People can adjust to change, but you have to think about those who get in trouble during the process.

    Compares to paparazzi. Shows slides of britney, lindsay lohan and Princess Diana.

    Publicity: Twitter has become a space for celebs, micro-celebs, fans of all sorts. 

    FB is about communicating with the people you already know, Twitter started out this way, but it’s evolved to follow people who have audiences…

    02:39: Issues of intimacy good and bad…cause of trouble for some  celebs. Talks about Miley Cyrus quitting Twitter. Quotes from her rap about it.

    Twitter isn’t just for celebs and followers. People all over the globe engage with it as specific kind of public space.

    two kinds of trending topics: those that start because of external factors, and those that are generated on the site.

    02:41: Trending topics also highlight that not all users are who you think they are. Shows Justin Bieber…in trending topics for 18 solid days. For all the conversations of teens not tweeting….all of his followers not all that old.

    Lot of racism and classism on Twitter. Shows slides of white people using the N word…

    Many have benefited from speaking in public on social media. It’s easy to take things for granted: the right to challenge authority, the right to be heard, seen, the right to go into public without losing my rights, etc. seek pub of own accord…not what everybody gets. Imagine you just left an abusive relationship, but you’re biggest fear is that you ex will find you….how public are you willing to be?

    People kicked out of jobs, military…

    Your kid’s teacher: how public is she allowed to be online? Religious? Drinking? ALlowed to be a lover and a friend in a public setting? What we see over and over agin is that we expect the teacher to always be the teacher, but that’s a lot to ask from people.

    02:46: Public by default: not the great democratizer. 

    Seeking attention, part of what makes engaging online fun. Quotes Jon Stewart The internet’s like Meixcan food. every sites’ got the same ingredients, just different combinations…talks about chat roulette.

    02:49: Why do people engage on this site? What you’ll find is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Many there for entertainment, boredom, find pesonal connections, etc. THere are others hoping they might find a celeb.

    It’s an odd combo of privacy and publicity…situated in private spaces (bedrooms, offices), but becomes publc. People are having fun geo-locating people who are participating.

    CR may be a fad, but the idea of pub andprivacy getting mixed up is not. New rules will complicate the boundaries…

    Tech will continue to make a mess of both.

    You need to know that there is now magical formula for understanding privacy and publicity.

    If you expose people, you may lose you reputation…

    For marketers, its an exciting time of publicility, but just because you can see somebody, doesn’t mean they want to be seen by you. And just because you think you’ve interpreted something, doesn’t mean you’ve done it right.

    Wants to see more policy grounded in what’s going on. A lot of numbers can be misinterpreted. What we’re measuring isn’t peoples’ sense of privacy. Wanting privacy isn’t about having something to hide. It’s about wanting control…

    There are good reasons to engage in privacy and good ones to engage in publicity.

    A lot of people are sharing more publicly to maintain other stuff privately.

    Think about people’s intentions and what it means to invade their privacy. Make sure you’re creating the future that you want to live in.

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