Danah boyd's ETECH talk: geeks should learn from "muggles"

Danah boyd's morning keynote at the O'Reilly Emerging Tech conference was called "Incantations for Muggles: The Role of Ubiquitous Web 2.0 Technologies in Everyday Life." Danah started with the premise that we treat techies as the people who understand technology best, but that maybe it's the naifs — kids, disenfranchised people, techno have-nots — who have the best insight into how technology should work. Raph Koster took exhaustive, great notes on the speech and posted them to his blog.

Tech companies have not taken up this model. We think it needs to scale to everyone. But this has a lot of cost. Facebook is frustrating me – it was a rite of passage: you talk to college kids who wanted the .edu address desperately because college life was all about Facebook.

Then it opened to high schools. And in the Princetonian we see an article about how he didn't want to be on a site with his younger brother – that's why he left home. College kids make posters like a banned sign over a "I facebooked your mom" t-shirt.

Expansion has costs. One of the costs is that you get people angry with you. The common response is lock-in: you have to stay even if you don't want to, which goes against what people really value. Unhappy users do not make products stick, cf Friendster.

We talk about people and tech companies. When they come together amazing things happen. But you don't see them in the tech industry. What does it mean for young kids in Iraq o communicate with their families via the web? They create communities of support. People create spaces (like Etsy) where they share the art they create. People find each other in meatspace – knitters, for example. With stage 3 folks it started, and now it is moving into stage 4. My grandfather was all excited over this technology which facilitated real life meetings. They can come together for different actions – – this weekend a rally for teens on politics of immigration, for example.


(via Wonderland)

See also:

danah boyd talks social networks – video
danah on Orkut
danah boyd on Facebook's "privacy trainwreck"
Danah boyd's Friendster papers, all in one place
danah boyd on a recent renegade party
Kids happy to lose MySpace passwords and start over
What social networks mean for friendship
Congresscritter wants to ban MySpace and social net sites in schools, libraries
Kuleshov effect: meaning is too contextual for metadata
Revenge of the User: Lessons from Creator/User Battles ETCON talk notes
boyd's social networks talk from ETCON