A review by Tara Brabazon in Times Higher Education
Danah Boyd’s latest book is a strong text in the dire field of new media studies. The introduction, however, does not bode well. Boyd states that her purpose is “to describe and explain the networked lives of teens to the people who worry about them – parents, teachers, policy makers, journalists, sometimes even other teens”. While framed as a guide to understanding young people (these days), her introduction does not do justice to her research.
In the eight chapters that follow, the book is at its best when probing privacy, danger, bullying and literacy. While these digital folk devils could have overwhelmed the argument, the research is sound and the interview material rich. Boyd’s goal is clear: to capture and express “the voice” of “teens”. The problem with such an aim is that technology is not generationally specific. People of all ages use YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There are distinct sociologies of platform use, but age is merely one factor to consider.
You can download a full PDF of the book.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.