It’s been a pretty relaxing summer. The blog has been neglected as my writing has been working toward a book that I hope will be of interest to readers of this blog, but a completion date is not something that I’m willing to commit to yet. I’ve stepped up my running and got to a couple of books that have been waiting patiently on my to-read list. The one of particular interest to readers here will be danah boyd‘s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.
I’ve been lucky enough to have read a few of boyd’s articles over the last couple of years and was particularly excited when I found out that this book had hit the store shelves. It’s Complicated is the result of a decade of travelling the US, talking to teens and stepping into their socially connected world. She examines many of our beliefs about what our teens are doing online, why they are doing it and how a digitally networked world colours the reality and perceptions of teen behaviour.
I particular love the distinction that boyd makes between what is and has always been the struggles of youth examining their own identities and trying to figure out what it means for them to become an adult and the nature of how evolving networked technology affects all of our behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, boyd is no techno-determinist. But she does recognize that there are aspects to communicating in a “networked public” that do change the game, to a point.
This is a thoroughly researched book. Not only has a lot of time been spent with teens talking and exploring their social media landscapes, but she has also looked at the facts behind many of our beliefs about cyber-bullying, digital natives, privacy and addiction. I won’t endeavour to relate her findings. She explains herself far better than I can. But, depending on your current beliefs, prepare to either spend your reading of It’s Complicated remarking to yourself, “Wow! I’d never thought in those terms,” or “Thank goodness that somebody is finally voicing my suspicions and backing them up with evidence.” A thoroughly enjoyable, refreshing and thought provoking read.