boyd “preface,” “introduction,” and chapter 1 “identity”

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Today, we will discuss boyd’s preface, introduction, and the chapter on identity.

Here are the discussion questions:

  • In the preface, boyd says that this book is written for “the people who worry about [teens]–parents, teachers, policy makers, journalists, sometimes even other teens.” From your reading so far, do you agree with boyd? Does this book seem written/addressed to you? If not, what can you learn by reading a book like this written with a different audience in mind?
  • boyd says that teens more often than not are “unaware” of how “the networked publics they inhabit” have made their lives different from the lives of adults, and why adults find “networked publics so peculiar.” In your experience, do you think this is true? Are you aware of the differences, and if so, what do you think about those differences?
  • When boyd discusses context collapses where “people are forced to grapple simultaneously with otherwise unrelated social contexts,” she gives the example of people running into a former high school teacher while drinking with friends at the bar. What context collapses have you experienced in your life? Do you agree that context collapses happen more frequently in networked publics?
  • One of the learning objectives of this course is for you to make conscious choices about the way you represent your identity online. I think all of us make these choices, but we don’t always make them consciously. In reflecting on your past practice in digital spaces, what digital persona have you created? boyd uses the example of a teen who used Twitter to discuss her obsession for One Direction, and Facebook and texting to talk with her school friends. Do you have separate digital persona in this way? What communication methods and social media sites do you use for these different persona? What happens when these contexts bleed into each other?

Also, if you have a discussion question that comes up as part of our discussion, please ask it.

At the end of class, I will collect your discussion questions.

Homework: for Wednesday, read boyd Chapter 2 “privacy” and Chapter 3 “addiction.” Come prepared to discuss the discussion questions, and generate two questions for discussion that you’d like to see us talk about in class, using the guidelines in the assignment prompt. Make sure to write your questions down because you will turn them in.

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