AISL 2014 Board Book: It’s Complicated by danah boyd

The 2nd annual AISL Board Book social took place on Thursday, April 24. Although it had been a busy and full day, many Dallas conference attendees joined the board for food and drinks, and took the opportunity to discuss the 2014 Board Book selection It’s Complicated by danah boyd. 2013’s event was a great success; in Baltimore we discussed I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did by Lori Andrews, which covered similar topics to boyd’s book.

It’s Complicated is an in-depth look at teens, and how they use the internet: their social media choices, their different personalities in different contexts online, their perception of privacy, and their interaction with their peers in an online (and offline) context. The book was generally well received by attendees, who felt they were seeing these issues on a day-to-day basis in their libraries and schools. The author, danah boyd, is a well-respected academic whose research focuses on how young people use social media as part of their everyday practice. It’s Complicated is based primarily on interviews boyd undertook with teens about their social media behaviours.

Attendees discussed a series of questions put together for the group by CD McLean (AISL president) such as:

  • What does social media add to the quality of teens’ social lives, and what does it take away?
  • What do you think about the idea that teens are more ‘digital naives’ as sociologist Hargittai calls them, than ‘digital natives’?
  • What do you think of the quote by Mark Zuckerberg, “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”?
  • Have we as adults become socially rude? Culturally rude? How do you define privacy?
  • Have teens redefined the nature of privacy online?
  • How do we as faculty judge teens?
  • Parental rights versus privacy / child rights. Where do you stand on this? Where does your school stand on this?

Thanks to my tablemates (Brenda Ferrell, Amy Cunningham, Tricia deWinter, and Joan Tweedie) for the interesting discussion! Although we didn’t always stay on topic, we had a fascinating conversation about teens, privacy, school social media use policies and the digital footprint / shadow that many of our students are creating.

Please consider joining us for next year’s Board Books Discussion at the 2015 Tampa conference. If you read any titles between now and then that you think would make for great discussion with AISL conference attendees, let us know!

3 thoughts on “AISL 2014 Board Book: It’s Complicated by danah boyd

  1. I agree with Claire that this was a great book to discuss in Dallas/Fort Worth. Interesting to talk with librarians from all over to see how their schools are dealing with Social Media. One factoid that came out of our discussion is that many youngsters are beginning to move away from Facebook and toward InstaGram and Twitter. I wonder what new media will be the next big thing in a year or two?

  2. I was with a large, fabulous group enjoying the warm sun on the patio. My group gave the book two thumbs up as well. It was interesting to think about the “voice” you’re using in social media (for kids, fitting in with their peer group vs. presenting their best side to college recruiters and as professionals, using social media to speak to our students, to our colleagues, other librarians, or friends outside libraryland). We also discussed the larger emotional impact that people’s reaction to our FB posts can have, like when one changes their relationship status. Additionally, we discussed privacy issues–is it o.k. for teachers to read their student’s open Twitter posts? We were interested in the anthropological examination that boyd offered regarding the impact of overprotective parents, teens being banned from public gathering spaces, students living far from their school friends, and having overscheduled lives that prevent them from coming together in person. Technology enables that coming together, just as the telephone did for those of us…ummmm, more mature folks. As you can see, ours was an information packed, highly relevant conversation. I love the shared experience these Board Book discussions provide and look forward to the Tampa one.

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