Microsoft hires social-net scholar Danah Boyd

Best known for her comparisons of MySpace and Facebook users, Boyd is wrapping up her doctorate at UC Berkeley before heading to Microsoft's new Boston-area research facility.

Danah Boyd, a researcher best known for her ethnographic studies of social networks, has been tapped to be part of Microsoft Research New England, the company's new research facility in Cambridge, Mass.

"Going to (Microsoft Research) will allow me to continue the research I do and it will give me a productive, collaborative, interdisciplinary environment in which to do it," Boyd wrote in a post on her blog on Sunday night. "There's amazing work at MSR concerning social media and even those at MSR-NE who are not working on social media are more than open to the topics engendered by it and more than ecstatic to engage with me. Being in a room full of scientists might not seem like the most obvious fit, but really, you have to meet them to understand how invigorating an environment it is."

Boyd will keep her gig as a fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, but she's wrapping up her dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley and moving to the Boston area full-time. She says she'll join the Microsoft Research New England team in January.

Previously, she worked as a researcher at both Yahoo and Google. Last year, she rose to Internet fame when she published a paper called "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life" that explored the demographic and economic differences between young people who use Facebook versus those who use MySpace .

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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