Some Background…

::wave:: Hello! My name is danah boyd and I’m a researcher. I tend to study things and share what I learn. <grin> You can learn more about me on my website. I have been blogging since 1997 and you can find other commentary of mine over at Medium, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

My research has been varied. I started out in computer science, where I spent a lot of timing doing visualizations and thinking about human-computer interaction before going deep into social network analysis and technical privacy mechanisms. I was then retrained by anthropologists, at which point I started studying social media, youth culture, and their various intersections. After writing my first book on this topic, I then created a research institute to explore a range of socio-technical topics, including “big data,” machine learning bias, media manipulation, and algorithmic accountability. In short, I’m fascinated by the intersections of social and technical matters with an eye towards how these configurations shape and are shaped by structural inequities.

A few years ago, I decided to dive back in deep into a new research project. I decided to position myself within the networked ecosystem surrounding the 2020 US census to ask two questions:

  1. What makes data “legitimate”?

  2. What does it take to “secure” data “infrastructure”?

(To the non-academic reader: The scare-quotes are intended to leave those terms in doubt as I interrogate those concepts as part of the research.)

After focusing on the participant-observation components of the research, it’s now time that I start writing again. Hence, this newsletter.

What to Expect….

This newsletter will be a space to share new research findings, provocations, ideas. Some of these posts will be short, some might be long, I’m going to go with the flow. I can’t promise a consistent tempo, but I can promise I won’t charge you for receiving this. More than anything, it’s a way that I can share what I’m thinking/learning in the hopes that it might entice you to think about the puzzles that intrigue me.


Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website. Feel free to share what you get with those in your world who might find what I say useful. I look forward to your thoughts and reactions!

Subscribe to Data: Made Not Found (by danah)

Assorted research thoughts on sociotechnical topics ranging from the census to algorithmic accountability, all with an eye to how data and society intersect with structural inequity


sociotechnical researcher | Microsoft Research, Data & Society (@datasociety), NYU | | currently focused on the US census