As interest grows among academics and parents in youth's participation in virtual societies, Danah Boyd, a USC Annenberg Center graduate fellow and expert on the topic, will speak on "Virtual Publics: Youth's Lives in Emergent Social Worlds" at AAAS 2007.
Boyd is scheduled to present in "Virtual Worlds Seminar Part I: Education, Learning, and Public Diplomacy," taking place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 in the Da Vinci Ballroom, fourth floor of the Renaissance Parc 55 hotel.
An important issue she wants to address in this year's presentation is the blurring of boundaries between online and offline worlds -- a trend that continues to grow.
"'Virtual' is a problematic concept because most people are not separating the digital from the physical," says Boyd. "MySpace is primarily a public articulation of offline social networks. It is complementary to the offline, not separate from it. Thus, when we fetishize purely online stuff, we do ourselves a disservice. This is not where the majority of people are going."
Boyd is a social media researcher at Yahoo!, a graduate student fellow at the Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California, and a PhD candidate in the School of Information at University of California-Berkeley. She is an expert on youth culture, digital publics, identity negotiation, ethnography, blogging, and social media including MySpace and Friendster. Her current doctoral dissertation is titled "Why American Youth/MySpace: Identity Production and Socialization in Digital Publics."