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Posted by admin on January 27, 2018 in Articles

Marwick & boyd | The Drama | 1
Paper to be presented at Oxford Internet Institute’s “A Decade in Internet Time: Symposium on the
Dynamics of the Internet and Society” on September 22, 2011.
* Draft Version. Feedback Welcome. *Dr. Alice Marwick
Postdoctoral Researcher
Microsoft Research
[email protected]
Dr. danah boyd
Senior Researcher
Microsoft Research
[email protected]
The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics
Last updated: 9/12/2011
While teenage conflict is nothing new, today’s gossip, jokes, and arguments often play out
through social media like Formspring, Twitter, and Facebook. Although adults often refer
to these practices with the language of “bullying,” teens are more likely to refer to the
resultant skirmishes and their digital traces as “drama.” Drama is a performative set of
actions distinct from bullying, gossip, and relational aggression, incorporating elements of
them but also operating quite distinctly. While drama is not particularly new, networked
dynamics reconfigure how drama plays out and what it means to teens in new ways. In
this paper, we examine how American teens conceptualize drama, its key components,
participant motivations for engaging in it, and its relationship to networked technologies.
Drawing on six years of ethnographic fieldwork, we examine what drama means to
teenagers and its relationship to visibility and privacy. We argue that the emic use of
“drama” allows teens to distance themselves from practices which adults may
conceptualize as bullying. As such, they can retain agency – and save face – rather than
positioning themselves in a victim narrative. Drama is a gendered process that perpetrates
conventional gender norms. It also reflects discourses of celebrity, particularly the
mundane interpersonal conflict found on soap operas and reality television. For teens, sites
like Facebook allow for similar performances in front of engaged audiences….