Kate Brodock And danah boyd On The Value Of Real-Life Networks

Brodock, founder of Girls in Tech, and boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, talk about connecting online and in person and bridging the two.

There are those that bemoan the Internet and mobile devices as a killer of connecting with the people around you. Kate Brodock and danah boyd (not a typo, boyd changed her name to not have capital letters) would disagree. Called some of the “Fluxiest women” that Fast Company knows by our very own Ellen McGirt, these women have forged paths that takes advantage of both.


Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research and a fellow at Harvard Berkman Center, says when she started using the Internet in 1992, it was about groups like Usenet and discussion boards. But boyd said there is now a shift to networks that are connecting people in new ways, including appreciating offline time together.

Kate Brodock And danah boyd

“We started seeing these beautiful seamless elements of realizing you can build community across multiple platforms, and what you get out of each one of them has different values and different potentials,” boyd said.

Brodock, the president of Girls in Tech, is a prime case in point. The chapters of Girls in Tech are local and meet in person, but Brodock has mostly only connected digitally with the chapters leaders of Girls in Tech. While they are trying to figure out ways to get together in person, Girls in Tech isn’t slowing down.

“We actually started saying to ourselves, ‘No, there is something legitimate in this virtual connection that is happening. Where can we take that?’” Brodock said.

About the author

Jackie Snow is a multimedia journalist published in or on National Geographic, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Quartz, New York Observer and more.