September 22, 2008
@ 03:20 PM

Someone at Microsoft forwarded me a link to danah boyd's announcement, I will be joining Microsoft Research in January where she writes

Guess who has a post-dissertation job? [Yes, that implies I'm actually going to finish this *#$@! dissertation.] ::bounce:: In January, I will be joining the newly minted Microsoft Research New England in Boston, MA. w00000t!!!!! I couldn't be more ecstatic.

It all began with Dopplr. Linda Stone noticed that I was swinging through Seattle and she called me up and told me that I had to do dinner with her. Linda's plots are always tremendous so of course I said yes. When I arrived, she introduced me to Jennifer Chayes and Christian Borgs, the physicists who were starting the new MSR lab. Jennifer immediately began interrogating me about my research and about social science more broadly. To say Jennifer & I clicked is a bit of an understatement. Like me, Jennifer is loud, crazy, and intense. We got along like peas in a pod and spent the night chattering away. When she told me that I should come work for her, I laughed it off and didn't think much about it. But I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Jennifer and Christian's vision for the lab aligned with my view of research. They believe in interdisciplinary work, believe in the ways that new ideas can come from unexpected collaborations. While I know a lot of social scientists who curl their nose at the idea of a lab full of physicists, mathematicians, and economists, I find that quite appealing. I love the idea of such a diverse group thinking about how the world works from different angles. Plus, meeting the folks at the new lab - Henry Cohn, Yael Kalai, Adam Kalai, and Butler Lampson - only made me more intrigued by it. Everyone was so ridiculously nice and even though we didn't work on the same problems we found funny intersections.

The more that I talked with folks at MSR, the more I fell in love with the possibility of going there. And then I started meeting with execs and realized that what MSR researchers were telling me fit with broader strategy. I met with Rick Rashid, the head of MSR, who explained why he started MSR and how he saw it fit into the company. I met with Ray Ozzie (who I've known and adored for quite some time) and he confirmed the importance of research for the future of Microsoft. Both of them made me feel fully confident that my approach to research would not only be tolerated but welcomed. Plus, there's a broad desire to understand the intersections between computing and all things social which is straight up my alley.

Congratulations to danah, I've always loved her research and I'm glad to see that she will continue contributing to the industry as a part of Microsoft Research. She is one of the few people out there doing real research into how social software is changing the lives of people on the Web and I'm glad Microsoft can be a part of that effort.

Besides her research papers, danah also have some interesting insights into the current goings on in the world of social networking sites like her post Facebook and Techcrunch: the costs of technological determinism and configuring users on Facebook's continued determination to delete user accounts that don't conform to the company's beliefs about how the site should be used. Her post knol: content w/out context, collaboration, capital, or coruscation which points out some of the shortcomings of Google's Knol when compared to Wikipedia is also another great recent post of note.

Good luck with the new job, danah.

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