These fans aren’t young groupies hoping to get a closer glimpse at their favorite rock star, but full-grown adults hoping to hear one more word from boyd. She’s one of the world’s sharpest authorities on how teens interact with technology, and for many, her word has become canon for understanding why teens do what they do.
The stage-rushers are e-marketers, digital strategists, and marketing gurus, but many of them are also quite likely parents. “Why are teens creating multiple identities online?” one asks. boyd looks a little exhausted. After a 30-minute talk on her new book It’s Complicated, the sum of a decade of research and over 150 interviews with teens, boyd already allowed another 30 minutes for Q & A.
But she’s smiling. This isn’t her first rodeo, having already made herself famous for past SXSW keynotes and years worth of scholarly papers on teen behaviors. boyd’s day job is at Microsoft Research, where she helps make sure Microsoft doesn’t miss the beat on privacy and social media trends. She argues that many of the challenges Microsoft faces aren’t about technology, but are instead about understanding the social dynamics of how people interact today versus when Microsoft was founded.