It seems to be Microsoft day here on Hard Knox Life, but they just made a key new hire that should be getting a lot more attention than it is. According to the folks at ReadWriteWeb, Microsoft Research has hired danah boyd, who is probably the most famous academic in the world focused on youth and social networks. As RWW points out, the hire is important because “If Microsoft is going to be relevant to the next generation of computer users, who better to pay attention to than the leading expert on how the next generation is using social networks?”
danah hit the radar of most folks when she published that kids were moving from MySpace to Facebook. As danah wrote somewhat controversially in her research:
“The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other ‘good’ kids are now going to Facebook. …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.”
I have been following danah’s work for quite some time, largely thanks to the frequent coverage she gets on Ypulse. She is truly one of the sharpest minds in understanding youth and how their use of social technology will transform culture and business. It is going to be really exciting to see the impact danah makes at shaping the future vision of Microsoft and their view of the social web.