It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (danah boyd) - Collaborative Book Engagement

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (danah boyd) - Collaborative Book Engagement

It's Complicated - Collaborative Book Review & Engagement 

Project Introduction

We are proud to announce the latest incarnation of a collaborative book review project; these crowdsourced reviews first started in 2012 with a truly excellent set of responses to Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White’s edited collection Race After The Internet.  This time, we choose a brand new book by danah boyd: It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens. The book is a fascinating study of youth and social media and we believe that it will become the go-to source on this topic, not only within the book’s North American contexts but also in a more global scope.

From the very beginning, the organizers of this project—Megan Farnel and Iskandar ‘izul’ Zulkarnain—have invited people from various academic communities to contribute their thoughts about danah boyd’s work. Thus, we have gathered reviewers from different universities, who work in different academic disciplines, and are at different points in their academic career. This fact also explains the somewhat “uneven” distribution of the number of reviews for each chapter and the diverse approaches the reviewers take. The reviews in this project comprise personal engagements with the chapter in question, a “report” of the chapter’s content, and pedagogical resources that are designed in conversation with the book. In addition, some of the reviews are co-authored, while others are single-authored. Ultimately, we as the organizers wanted the number, style, and content of reviews to reflect the diverse array of backgrounds and approaches that readers will be bringing to boyd’s work, and we value the diversity and range of the contributions we received.

We feel that the issue of youth engagement with social media is an important one as social media is actively shaping and being shaped by contemporary society, and boyd’s book comes at an especially important time. We hope that by carrying out this engaging and collaborative project, you will be inspired to read, learn, and teach this book in the future.

Moreover, as a follow-up to this project, there will be a HASTAC Scholars Forum on Digital Media and Youth—organized by two of our collaborators, Angela Cirucci and Faithe Day—that will be a venue for wider discussion on the issues that boyd discussed in her book. We heartily welcome everyone to join the conversation raised in this project by giving comments, questions, or suggestions on individual reviews or this project as a whole. All comments, suggestions, and questions would be in the public comments on this site

In the mean time, jump in with your comments, questions, or your own reviews!!!

Project directed by Megan Farnel and Iskandar “izul” Zulkarnain, in collaboration with HASTAC Scholars Director Fiona Barnett

A note about the links embedded below:

The manually-created links placed within the text of the book's main page were created as "hard links" rather than relative links by the page's author. This rendered them broken when the HASTAC site was re-launched with an updated information architecture and page hierarchy.

Instead of using these links, please use the automatically generated Drupal Books sidebar menu at the right of every page included in the book. The chapters can be navigated successfully by doing so. Please continue to use this method until our team can manually correct the links on the main book page.


Review by Megan Farnel (University of Alberta)


Chapter 1: Identity - Why do teens seem strange online?

Review by Dani Spinosa (York University)

Review by Vanessa Monterosa (California State University at Long Beach) and Sable Manson (University of Southern California)


Chapter 2: Privacy - Why do youth share so publicly?

Review by Jamie Henthorn (Old Dominion University)

Review by Jason Luther (Syracuse University)

Review by Kaarina Mikalson (University of Alberta)


Chapter 3: Addiction - What makes teens obsessed with social media?

Review by AJ Burgin (University of Washington)

Review by Christine Chow (Stanford University)

Review by Faithe Day (University of Michigan)


Chapter 4: Danger - Are sexual predators lurking everywhere?

Review by Jeremy Smyczek (University of Texas)


Chapter 5: Bullying - Is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty?

Review by Hilarie Ashton (CUNY) and Ben Burroughs (University of Iowa)


Chapter 6 - Inequality - Can social media resolve social divisions?

Review by Alex Fink (University of Minnesota)

Review by Jenny Korn (University of Illinois Chicago)

Review by Koen Leurs (London School of Economics)

Review by Marion Selfridge (University of Victoria)

Review by Tami Moe (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Review by Qun Wang (Rutgers University)


Chapter 7: Literacy - Are today's youth digital natives?

Review by Heather Soyka (University of Pittsburgh)

Review by Rosaria Pace (University of Foggia)


Chapter 8: Searching for a public of their own

Review by Angela Cirucci (Temple University)


Additional Resources (we'd love to include others -  please post your own resources!)

Pedagogical Resources: Examining Youth Publics through Media Analysis by Jen Hardwick (Queen's University)