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Posts in category 'Teens'

25 May 2010

Growing up online

Growning up online
In Growing Up Online, the American public affairs series FRONTLINE takes viewers inside the very public private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming childhood.

“The Internet and the digital world was something that belonged to adults, and now it’s something that really is the province of teenagers, ” says C.J. Pascoe, a postdoctoral scholar with the University of California, Berkeley’s Digital Youth Research project.

“They’re able to have a private space, even while they’re still at home. They’re able to communicate with their friends and have an entire social life outside of the purview of their parents, without actually having to leave the house.”

As more and more kids grow up online, parents are finding themselves on the outside looking in. “I remember being 11; I remember being 13; I remember being 16, and I remember having secrets,” mother of four Evan Skinner says. “But it’s really hard when it’s the other side.”

At school, teachers are trying to figure out how to reach a generation that no longer reads books or newspapers. “We can’t possibly expect the learner of today to be engrossed by someone who speaks in a monotone voice with a piece of chalk in their hand,” one school principal says.

“We almost have to be entertainers,” social studies teacher Steve Maher tells FRONTLINE. “They consume so much media. We have to cut through that cloud of information around them, cut through that media, and capture their attention.”

Fears of online predators have led teachers and parents to focus heavily on keeping kids safe online. But many children think these fears are misplaced. “My parents don’t understand that I’ve spent pretty much since second grade online,” one ninth-grader says. “I know what to avoid.”

Many Internet experts agree with the kids. “Everyone is panicking about sexual predators online. That’s what parents are afraid of; that’s what parents are paying attention to,” says Parry Aftab, an Internet security expert and executive director of WiredSafety.org. But the real concern, she says, is the trouble that kids might get into on their own. Through social networking and other Web sites, kids with eating disorders share tips about staying thin, and depressed kids can share information about the best ways to commit suicide.

Another threat is “cyberbullying,” as schoolyard taunts, insults and rumors find their way online. John Halligan‘s son Ryan was bullied for months at school and online before he ultimately hanged himself in October 2003. “I clearly made a mistake putting that computer in his room. I allowed the computer to become too much of his life,” Halligan tells FRONTLINE. “The computer and the Internet were not the cause of my son’s suicide, but I believe they helped amplify and accelerate the hurt and the pain that he was trying to deal with that started in person, in the real world.”

“You have a generation faced with a society with fundamentally different properties, thanks to the Internet,” says Danah Boyd, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “It’s a question for us of how we teach ourselves and our children to live in a society where these properties are fundamentally a way of life. This is public life today.”

Watch programme online

9 May 2010

Tell-all generation learns to keep things offline

Privacy online
Members of the under 30 tell-all generation are rethinking what it means to live out loud.

“The conventional wisdom suggests that everyone under 30 is comfortable revealing every facet of their lives online, from their favorite pizza to most frequent sexual partners. But many members of the tell-all generation are rethinking what it means to live out loud.

While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry.

They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves. In a new study to be released this month, the Pew Internet Project has found that people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves. “

Interestingly “mistrust of the intentions of social sites appears to be pervasive.”

Read article

4 March 2010

Debunking the idea of digital natives

Digital natives
The Economist questions whether it is really helpful to talk about a new generation of “digital natives” who have grown up with the internet.

“Writing in the British Journal of Education Technology in 2008, a group of academics led by Sue Bennett of the University of Wollongong set out to debunk the whole idea of digital natives, arguing that there may be “as much variation within the digital native generation as between the generations”.”

Read full story

28 February 2010

New media and its superpowers

Mimi Ito
Mimi Ito, cultural anthropologist and associate researcher at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, co-led a MacArthur Foundation-funded three year ethnographic study, the Digital Youth Project (DYP), which looked at how young people interact with new media at home, in after-school programs, and in online spaces-and found much to celebrate in the learning they observed.

But many adults don’t see it that way-yet. During a talk at a recent US educational conference, Ito projected an image of a newspaper article that appeared after DYP issued its first press release. The researchers reported that kids are engaging in diversified and valuable dimensions of learning online. The banner headline reporting their findings proclaimed, “Chill Out, Parents.”

“That outtake focused more on inter-generational tension than on our findings,” Ito said. “The headline assumes that parents are uptight, or should be, about kids’ online activity.”

Today’s kids are growing up in a radically different media environment than their parents-and teachers-did. They are connected 24/7 to peers, to entertainment and to information. “Visceral, interactive, immersive experiences are available when and where kids want them,” Ito said.

The availability of all that compelling entertainment and information has created a gap, Ito says, between in-school and out-of-school experience. Schools need to figure out how to leverage the power of kids’ engagement with media for learning in school as well as outside it.

Read presentation transcript
Read article about Ito’s presentation

24 February 2010

Millennials – a portrait of generation next

Millennials
This report on the values, attitudes, behaviors and demographic characteristics of the Millennial generation was prepared by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

It represents the Pew Research Center’s most ambitious examination to date of America’s newest generation, the Millennials, many of whom have now crossed into adulthood.

“Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings currently making the passage into adulthood – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.

They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. The Great Recession has set back their entry into the labor force, but they are more upbeat than their elders about their own economic futures and the overall state of the nation. And they are the first “always connected” generation, steeped in digital technology and social media.”

Read summary
Download report

20 January 2010

If your kids are awake, they’re probably online

Generation M2
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

Read full story

3 December 2009

Danah Boyd and Sherry Turkle video interviews

Digital revolution
Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research, and Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, were interviewed for Digital Revolution (working title), an open source documentary, due for transmission on BBC Two in 2010, that will take stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web.

Danah Boyd interview – USA
Danah Boyd is a social media researcher at Microsoft Research. She met with Aleks Krotoski to discuss the changes in young people’s behaviour when online, their attitudes to privacy and the importance that might be placed upon building their identities online.

Sherry Turkle interview – USA
Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauxe Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. She met with Aleks Krotoski to discuss the issues of privacy, communication and identity in the web-connected world.

Also published this week are interviews with Doug Rushkoff (author, teacher, columnist and media theorist), discussing the realities of ‘free’ content and services on the web, and Gina Bianchini (CEO and co-founder of Ning), speaking about online social networks and the changing nature of relationships and human interactions in the connected world of the web.

Digital Revolution (working title) is an open source documentary, due for transmission on BBC Two in 2010, that will take stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web.

10 November 2009

Book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media

Hanging out
Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Kids Living and Learning with New Media
(John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)
An examination of young people’s everyday new media practices—including video-game playing, text-messaging, digital media production, and social media use.

Authors: Mizuko Ito, Sonja Baumer, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Rachel Cody, Becky Herr-Stephenson, Heather A. Horst, Patricia G. Lange, Dilan Mahendran, Katynka Z. Martinez, C. J. Pascoe, Dan Perkel, Laura Robinson, Christo Sims and Lisa Tripp
MIT Press, November 2009, 432 pages
Table of contents and sample chaptersAmazon link

Conventional wisdom about young people’s use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today’s teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networks sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youth’s social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces. By focusing on media practices in the everyday contexts of family and peer interaction, the book views the relationship of youth and new media not simply in terms of technology trends but situated within the broader structural conditions of childhood and the negotiations with adults that frame the experience of youth in the United States.

Integrating twenty-three different case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music-sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.

This book was written as a collaborative effort by members of the Digital Youth Project, a three-year research effort funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

The project was spearheaded by Mimi Ito, a Research Scientist at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

(via danah boyd)

9 July 2009

The Generation M Manifesto

Umair Haque
Umair Haque has a message for the G8:

“Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.”

Read manifesto (and check the links)

19 May 2009

New media practices in China, Korea, India, Brazil, Japan and Ghana

 
The blog series on New Media Practices in International Contexts, which I announced in January, is now complete. It covers the unique characteristics of digital media user behaviours in very different socio-cultural contexts of China, Korea, India, Brazil, Japan and Ghana, with a particular interest in the intersection of youth, new media and learning.

The authors, a group of people around Mimi Ito, believe that examining new media practices from an international (and, in some cases, transnational) perspective will enhance their current efforts to theorise youth, new media and learning, a wider MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

China (by Cara Wallis): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Korea (by HyeRyoung Ok): introductioninternetgamingmobile phonesnew media productionconclusion
India (by Anke Schwittay): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Brazil (by Heather Horst): introductioninternetnew media productiongamesmobile phonesconclusion
Japan (by Mimi Ito and Daisuke Okabe): introductioninternetmobile phonesnew media productiongamingconclusion
Ghana (by Araba Sey): introductionmobile phonesinternetnew media productiongamingconclusion

Each case study focuses upon the telecommunications landscape, internet and mobile phone practices, gaming, and new media production, and provides a unique perspective on the ways in which infrastructure, institutions and culture (among other factors) shape contemporary new media practices.

12 May 2009

Business Innovation Factory launches Student Experience Lab

BIF
The non-profit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) yesterday launched a new laboratory to enable innovation in higher education. The lab will support the design of solutions that increase college attainment levels, enhance the college student experience and improve the quality and effectiveness of the U.S. higher education system. The launch of the BIF Student Experience Lab is supported by a $280,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education.

The Student Experience Lab is the second BIF laboratory to come online following the launch of the Elder Experience Lab and its successful Nursing Home of the Future initiative in 2008.

BIF’s unique non-profit platform will provide Student Experience Lab partners with a collaborative environment where new ideas for improving the college student experience and increasing higher education attainment can be designed, tested and refined in a real-world laboratory with direct student engagement. [...]

In a first phase of work, the Student Experience Lab team will create an “Experience Map” of the environmental and human factors that are the most significant drivers of the post secondary student experience. The team will use a combination of observational and ethnographic research, self-reporting, surveying and secondary research to characterize the experience of current, former and prospective post secondary education students at various ages and from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

The Student Experience Lab will package findings from this phase of work in a highly visual and interactive form that uses video, audio, photography and first-person narrative to tell the story of the postsecondary student experience in a manner that allows experts and non-experts to understand the human, environmental and systems-level factors that most impact degree attainment.

Read full press release

29 April 2009

Research on how teenagers use news sites

Teens Know
The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Foundation has published a report on a study on how teenagers use news sites.

“The NAA Foundation and the Media Management Center at Northwestern University have teamed up to explore and put to the test better ways to match the online news preferences of teens.

We developed prototypes of home pages and story-level pages, then tested them in focus groups across the United States. Teens’ responses were remarkably and overwhelmingly consistent, regardless of market size or location.

We found that there are better ways to serve teens with online news. The answer isn’t to dilute the news, but to be bolder.

This doesn’t mean that news organizations should necessarily create sites just for teens. The term “youth news Web site” conjures up visions of a site heavy with lifestyle and entertainment content, with a little news on the side. But what these teens said they want are news sites that do news well, not dumb it down or pose as experts in teen culture.

Given that teen responses were very similar to those of adults who are light readers, we recommend creating a new type of site – not just for teens, but for all people who lack experience with news and have a limited amount of time to get engaged with it.”

Executive summary
Full report
Presentation at the NAA Annual Convention in April 2009

10 March 2009

An anthropologist gone techno

Jukka Jouhki
Jukka Jouhki (blog), an anthropologist and post-doc researcher at the Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has a particular interest in technology.

He is currently doing research on South Korean new media culture (2006-2009), human-technology interaction, cultural aspects of new media and ubiquitous society visions.

Check these two recent papers:

A Modern Fetish: The Value of the Mobile Phone in South Korean Youth Culture
DRAFT for a paper to be presented at IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, 17 – 23 June 2009, Algarve.
This paper attempts to analyze the cultural significance of the mobile phone to the youths living in Seoul. It is based on the observation data produced by a group of communication students at Seoul National University. The paper presents the students’ observations on mobile phone use in the public and urban context of Seoul area as well as the students’ personal reflections on the subject. The paper further discusses the mobile phone as a significant element of Korean youth culture and, further, of the contemporary modern society.

Keeping in Touch: Notes on the Mobile Communication Culture of Korean Youth
DRAFT ONLY for Sonja Kangas (ed.): Communication Acrobatics, forthcoming in 2009
Discusses South Korean youth and their mobile communication culture. Based on participant observation and interviews conducted by Korean university students.

3 February 2009

Book: Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media

Mobile Technologies
Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media
Editors: Gerard Goggin; Larissa Hjorth
ISBN: 978-0-415-98986-2 (hardback) 978-0-203-88431-7 (electronic)
Series: Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies
Google preview

Summary

In light of emerging forms of software, interfaces, cultures of uses, and media practices associated with mobile media, this collection investigates the various ways in which mobile media is developing in different cultural, linguistic, social, and national settings. We consider the promises and politics of mobile media and its role in the dynamic social and gender relations configured in the boundaries between public and private spheres. In turn, the contributors revise the cultural and technological politics of mobiles. The collection is genuinely interdisciplinary, as well as international in its range, with contributors and studies from China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Norway, France, Belgium, Britain, and Australia.

Table of Contents

Part I: Reprising Mobile Theory
1. “The Question of Mobile Media”- Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth
2. “Intimate Connections: The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work Life Boundaries” – Judy Wajcman, Michael Bittman and Jude Brown
3. “Gender and the Mobile Phone” – Leopoldina Fortunati

Part II: Youth, Families, and the Politics of Generations
4. “Children’s Broadening Use of Mobile Phones” – Leslie Haddon and Jane Vincent
5. “Mobile Communication and Teen Emancipation” – Rich Ling
6. “Mobile Media and the Transformation of Family” – Misa Matsuda
7. “Purikura as a Social Management Tool” – Daisuke Okabe, Mizuko Ito, Aico Shimizu and Jan Chipchase

Part III: Mobiles in the Field of Media
8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
9. “Innovations at the Edge: The Impact of Mobile Technologies on the Character of the Internet” – Harmeet Sawnhey
10. “Media Contents in Mobiles: Comparing Video, Audio and Text” – Virpi Oksman
11. “New Economics for the New Media” – Stuart Cunningham and Jason Potts
12. “Domesticating New Media: A Discussion on Locating Mobile Media” – Larissa Hjorth

Part IV: Renewing Media Forms
13. “Back to the Future: The Past and Present of Mobile TV” – Gabriele Balbi and Benedetta Prario
14. “Net_Dérive: Conceiving and Producing a Locative Media Artwork” – Atau Tanaka and Petra Gemeinboeck
15. “Mobile News in Chinese Newspaper Groups: A Case Study of Yunnan Daily Press Group” – Liu Cheng and Axel Bruns
16. “Re-inventing Newspapers in a Digital Era: The Mobile E-Paper” – Wendy Van den Broeck, Bram Lievens and Jo Pierson

Part V: Mobile Imaginings
17. “Face to Face: Avatars and Mobile Identities” – Kathy Cleland
18. “Re-imagining Urban Space: Mobility, Connectivity, and a Sense of Place” – Dong-Hoo Lee
19. “These Foolish Things: On Intimacy and Insignificance in Mobile Media” – Kate Crawford
20. “Mobility, Memory and Identity” – Nicola Green

Chapter summary

Chapter 8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
This chapter begins by describing the limited use of most mobile functions—except for voice calls and SMS/text messages—among small and informal business owners in urban India. It draws on this illustration to suggest that forms of mobile media based on low cost, ubiquitous SMS features have the potential to be accessible, relevant, and popular among many users in the developing world. Further examples of SMS-based mobile media applications illustrate an important distinction between these systems. While some applications stand alone, others function as bridges to or hybrids of other media forms, particularly the internet. Over the next few years, these hybrid forms will play an important role in offering flexible, powerful information resources to a sizable proportion of the world’s population.
(via Jonathan Donner)

Also note chapter 7.

28 January 2009

New blog series on media practices in international contexts

China
A new blog series, New Media Practices in International Contexts, looks at the intersection of youth, new media and learning in a range of countries outside of North America and Western Europe.

The authors, a group of people around Mimi Ito, believe that examining new media practices from an international (and, in some cases, transnational) perspective will enhance their current efforts to theorise youth, new media and learning, a wider MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Over the next three to four months they will be introducing six case studies – Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Korea and Japan.

China (by Cara Wallis): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Korea (by HyeRyoung Ok): introductioninternetgamingmobile phonesnew media productionconclusion
India (by Anke Schwittay): introductionmobile phonesgaminginternetnew media productionconclusion
Brazil (by Heather Horst): introductioninternetnew media productiongamesmobile phonesconclusion
Japan (by Mimi Ito and Daisuke Okabe): introductioninternetmobile phonesnew media productiongamingconclusion
Ghana (by Araba Sey): introductionmobile phonesinternetnew media productiongamingconclusion

Each case study will focus upon the telecommunications landscape, internet and mobile phone practices, gaming, and new media production, and will provide a unique perspective on the ways in which infrastructure, institutions and culture (among other factors) shape contemporary new media practices.

(via Mimi Ito)

19 January 2009

When everyone zigs, Cory Doctorow zags

OLPC
Just when everyone is writing on how mobile phones are bringing about huge changes in emerging markets, Cory Doctorow publishes a very nice and thought provoking article in the Guardian entitled “Laptops, not mobile phones, are the means to liberate the developing world“.

“Mobile phones are necessarily an interim step. Adding software to most mobile phones is difficult or impossible without the permission of a central carrier, which makes life very hard for local technologists who have a very particular, local itch that needs scratching (and forget about collectively improving the solutions that do get approved – when was the last time you heard of someone downloading an app for her phone, improving it, and republishing it?). Mobile phone use is always metered, limiting their use and exacting a toll on people who can least afford to pay it. Worst of all, the centralised nature of mobile networks means that in times of extremis, governments and natural disasters will wreak havoc on our systems, just as we need them most.

By contrast, an open laptop with mesh networking is designed to be locally customised, to have its lessons broadcast to others who can use them, and to avoid centralised control and vulnerability to bad weather and bad governments. It is designed to be nearly free from operating costs, so that once the initial investment is made, all subsequent use is free, encouraging experimentation and play, from which all manner of innovations may spring.”

Read full story

19 January 2009

Taken Out of Context: American teen sociality in networked publics

danah boyd
danah boyd is a a PhD candidate at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley) and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

She just published her dissertation entitled “Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics“. It examines how American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube, and how the architectural differences between unmediated and mediated publics affect sociality, identity and culture.

Abstract

As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices – gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens’ engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices – self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties – persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability – and three dynamics – invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private – are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens’ engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

Download dissertation

14 January 2009

Don’t trust anyone under 30?

 
I find articles with titles like this difficult to digest. What if you are under 30?

And especially if the article is filled with banalities – partly put in the mouth of the “authority” of professor Mark Bauerlein – like:

The bad thing about [Facebook] is that it gives a venue to everybody with an opinion.

Teenagers, high school and college students [...] are spending so much time engaged in digital electronic activities that they are losing the capacity to sit quietly in a room by themselves and read a book.

We’re about to turn our country over to a generation that doesn’t read much and doesn’t think much either.

Text messaging does not involve writing coherent, elegant paragraphs that involve sustained arguments and presentations of evidence. It’s just another way where kids teach each other bad habits.

The author is Richard Bernstein, a New York Times book critic and International Herald Tribune columnist. He was born in 1944 and he makes it show in this article (unfortunately, as there are many people of his age who are mentally a lot younger).

Sorry Bernstein, but you are behaving like an old man.

Why on earth is the International Herald Tribune publishing this crap?

Read article

1 December 2008

Book: Grown Up Digital

Grown Up Digital
McGraw-Hill is pitching me books and now and then I request a copy because the subject matter interests me greatly.

Don Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World” is such a book. It explains how digital technology has affected the children of the baby boomers, a group he calls the Net Generation, and how these kids are poised to transform society in a fundamental way.

What’s more, Tapscott (who also co-authored Wikinomics) drew for his book on a $4 million research project that undertook more than 11,000 interviews with Net Geners, along with scientific studies, input from academics and leaders in business, education and government.

Since I am not a professional reviewer, book reading is an extracurricular activity that takes me somewhat more time. I am only a third done, and on the whole the balance is positive. So this is an in-between observation — provoked by a few other reviews that I don’t want to withhold you from — yet I am likely to come back to the book once I am done with it.

Although the book’s descriptive pieces tend to be a bit non-surprising for an astute observer, the analysis is first class. Tapscott has a knack for condensing his insights in strong synthesis that is just excellent.

Here is a short excerpt:

THE EIGHT NET GENERATION NORMS
If Wonder bread builds strong bodies in 12 ways, this generation is different from its parents in 8 ways. We call these 8 differentiating characteristics the Net Generation Norms. Each norm is a cluster of attitudes and behaviors that define the generation. These norms are central to understanding how this generation is changing work, markets, learning, the family, and society. You’ll read about them throughout the book.

  • They want freedom in everything they do, from freedom of choice to freedom of expression. [...]
  • They love to customize, personalize. [...]
  • They are the new scrutinizers. [...]
  • They look for corporate integrity and openness when deciding what to buy and where to work. [...]
  • The Net Gen wants entertainment and play in their work, education, and social life. [...]
  • They are the collaboration and relationship generation. [...]
  • The Net Gen has a need for speed — and not just in video games. [...]
  • They are the innovators.

A recent Economist review provides a very good summary of the book and underlines the two things that Tapscott worries about:

“One is the inadequacy of the education system in many countries; while two-thirds of Net Geners will be the smartest generation ever, the other third is failing to achieve its potential. Here the fault is the education, not the internet, which needs to be given a much bigger role in classrooms (real and virtual). The second is the net generation’s lack of any regard for personal privacy, which Mr Tapscott says is a ‘serious mistake, and most of them don’t realise it.'”

Tapscott himself meanwhile has done his own bit to promote the book, not in the least through his eight (!) part article series for Business Week:

  • Net Geners come of age
    A new generation of Americans that has grown up digital are poised to make history on Election Day, if the polls are right.
     
  • How digital technology has changed the brain
    By their 20s, young people will have spent more than 30,000 hours on the Internet and playing video games. That’s not such a bad thing.
     
  • Net Gen transforms marketing
    The author of Grown Up Digital explains how Web savvy among the Net Generation (the boomers’ kids) will change how goods are bought and sold.
     
  • How to hire the Net Generation
    Hiring the under-30, digitally savvy young workers who will be the next generation of managers requires adapting recruitment strategies to fit the demographic.
     
  • How to teach and manage ‘Generation Net’
    The sage-on-stage model no longer works. To reach the Internet Generation’s members, engage them in conversation and let them work in groups.
     
  • Supervising Net Gen
    Forget top-down management. To harness the potential of young employees, you’ll need to collaborate and give them lots of feedback.
     
  • Focus on the Net Gen family
    The kids who grew up digital are closer to their parents than the previous generation. And they’ll bring new attitudes into the workplace.
     
  • The Net Generation takes the lead
    Enabled by the Web and digital technology, the Net Generation is transforming media, politics, and culture. Will older generations stand in the way?
29 November 2008

Social media in closed societies

closed societies
Ethan Zuckerman, a researcher on the impact of information technology in developing nations, reports on his blog on a recent panel discussion, organised by the Open Society Institute, on new media in authoritarian societies.

The discussion started from the premise that our understanding of the effects of online media on society “are largely based on research in open societies, especially in the U.S. But there’s lots less work on the effects of new media in other parts of the world, especially in closed societies, and much of the work that’s done is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate.”

Aside from Zuckerman himself, panels included John Kelly, founder of Morningside Analytics, who talked about the emerging networked public sphere and presented his maps of online social networks in Iran, Egypt, Russia, and China; Evgeny Morozov, who is writing a book on the Internet in authoritarian countries; and Porochista Khakpour, an Iranian-American writer who discussed how the Iranian diaspora uses the Internet..

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(via Worldchanging)