[Social Networking Sites] Danah Boyd Is A Genius, Part 65,345

I want to steal her brain away and ask it questions forever, Futurama-and-Dead-Presidents-style.

I mean, how can you top this?

I’m not saying that social network sites have no value. Quite the contrary. But their value is about the kinds of informal social learning that is required for maturation – understanding your community, learning the communicate with others, working through status games, building and maintaining friendships, working through personal values, etc. All too often we underestimate these processes because, traditionally, they have happened so naturally. [They have also been understood to happen outside of school, in church or at home or in the pool hall; the fact that they are more prevalent in school now than ever before – and better understood as being within the purview of educators – is causing all sorts of tension and conflict. – Dennis] Yet, what’s odd about today’s youth culture is that we’ve systematically taken away the opportunities for socialization. And yet we wonder why our kids are so immature compared to kids from other cultures. Social network sites are popular because youth are trying to take back the right to be social, even if it has to happen in interstitial ways. We need to recognize that not all learning is about book learning – brains mature through experience, including social experiences.


Yes! Yes! A million times yes!

How cool could it be if someone nudged those interstitial spaces ever so slightly as to promote positive growth rather than the further following of mass media and commercial trends (which happen to promote a whole bunch of nasty stuff)?

Sigh. This is one of the reasons I felt like a space alien among teachers when subbing. I never saw this kind of thing articulated or even understood in regards to modern technologies like cell phones or social networking sites – or even chat programs.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: education, social networking

3 Comments on “[Social Networking Sites] Danah Boyd Is A Genius, Part 65,345”

  1. Michael Faris Says:

    I enjoy Boyd’s work, but sometimes (or perhaps even often) she makes intellectual leaps that ignore quite a bit of context.

    I haven’t read her post on this yet, so this is perhaps unfair, but…

    For example: Yet, what’s odd about today’s youth culture is that we’ve systematically taken away the opportunities for socialization. Leaves socialization undefined. I assume she means socializing, as our youth are socialized by various apparatus, including the family, school, media, etc.

    And yet we wonder why our kids are so immature compared to kids from other cultures. A sweeping connection to the apparent “lack of socialization” instead of a nuanced, complicated understanding that childhood is a social construction coming out of the Enlightenment and Culture Industry. There’s a supposed great book on this, but I can’t remember the title, and I have to go teach in a few minutes, so I can’t look it up.

    One last thing: We need to recognize that not all learning is about book learning – brains mature through experience, including social experiences.

    Duh. What she does, here, though, is a great and awful rhetorical move: she makes “book learning” not social. When in fact it is — all literacies are social. So, she creates a false binary between book learning and social experience. Additionally, in this sentence she equates “learning” with “maturing,” which are, arguably, two very different things.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Faris,

    I think you’re pretty much correct on all counts.

    However, I would say that most of these points are essentially corrections to her terminology or otherwise sloppy use of language – and given that this is a blog post, I consider that understandable.

  3. Michael Faris Says:

    I would agree that it’s a problem of terminology and, since on a blog, then not that big of a deal because it’s writing thoughts out, not trying to make coherent/cohesive arguments that are completely sound.

    Or, rather, I would agree, if Boyd didn’t do this type of thing all the time (which might be hyperbolic, but she does misuse words — e.g., hegemonic — quite often).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: