Is technology really that bad?

When doing research in privacy, I sometimes feel like being the only optimist. 99% of what is written on privacy is based on the assumption that the changes are monstrous, horrible and abnormal.

So seeing this YouTube video with the American Stand-up comedian Louis CK was putting my research into perspective. Well, we don’t have to be that negative on technology and the societal changes, I presume.

Louis CK: Learn to appreciate technology on YouTube

Er de unge dumme eller bedrevidende?

“Teenagers anses enten som en gene, der må kontrolleres eller en sårbar og påvirkelig befolkningsgruppe, som må beskyttes.” (danah boyd)

Denne opfattelse blev bekræftet, da Forbrugerforums debat om “Netsikkerhed i sociale medier” løb af stablen med Mikael Lemberg (Facebook konsulent) og Niels Elgaard Larsen (formand for IT-Politisk Forening) som ærværdige debatører.

Når vi diskuterer ungdomsgenerationens brug af sociale medier, vil jeg dog mene, at forståelserne af unge er en revideret udgave af danah boyds definition. Her bliver teenagers ofte fremstillet som ‘naturlige-IT-kompetente” (digital natives perspektivet) eller som den lidt uvidende og naive gruppe, som de voksne må passe på.

Debatternes rollefordeling var således, at Mikael Lemberg talte om ungdomsgenerationen, som dem, der vidste, hvad de foretog sig, og Niels tog den ansvarlige forældre-rolle for de sårbare unge:

Mikael: “Unge Facebook-brugere deler meget omkring sig selv, men de gør det bevidst. Ældre facebook-brugere ved derimod ofte ikke, hvad de deler på Facebook og hvem de deler med.”

Niels: “Unge er mere bevidste om, hvornår de ønsker at udstille selv, og hvad der tilhører deres privatliv. Men de tænker ikke så meget over, at om 10-20 år har både verden omkring dem og de selv ændret sig meget.”

Begge holdninger falder mig lidt for brystet. Jeg mener, hverken at det ene eller det andet perspektiv er sandt. Perspektiverne er simpelthen for sort/hvide. Det er holdninger, som placerer sig som poler på et kontinuum, hvoraf alt imellem endnu ikke er klarlagt – eller i al fald ikke dominerende i hverken medierne eller forskningen omkring unges brug af sociale medier.

Kender du til opfattelser af unges brug af sociale medier, som placerer sig midt imellem de to poler?

Are you a true Digital Native?

Are you a true master of digital media, a mass user of digital media or an old-fashioned media consumer? Find out by answer the following questions.

1) To sell a car or rent an apartment, you use …
a. the classifieds
b. Craigslist

2) You’re planning to go to the movie and want to see what’s playing, so you …
a. look in the newspaper
b. go online

3) Its time for a news update, so you…
a. watch the television news
b. open your feedreader service or find a news site on the Web

4) You enjoy listening to music…
a. sometimes and mostly from your cd-player
b. all the time and mostly from your iPod

5) When being online the majority of your time is spent on…
a. consume content, eg. reading mails
b. constantly creating or changing content

6) You go to YouTube…
a. to check out a video you’ve heard about
b. throughout the day to find out what’s new

7) You buy a new gadget and…
a. get out the manual
b. just use it

8 ) When in a car you with several passengers, you mostly…
a. talk to the other passengers in the car
b. are sending texts messages to the other passengers and your friends

5 A’s or more
: You are probably an adult born between 1946 and 1976. You are a aggressive communicator who are media-centered. For you radio, TV, film and the Internet is non-specialist media, available for everyone’s use to package information and put forward their perspective. Despite the energy you put into be updated on the tech front you just don’t have the natural affinity for technology as the real digital natives have.

5 B’s or more: You are a true digital native and probably born between 1977 and 1997. You have a natural affinity for technology that seems uncanny. You instinctively turn first to the Net to communicate, understand, learn find and do many things. The ways you use media is determining the future of digital univers.

4 A & 4 B’s: It seems like you’re learning a lot about the new media these days. But a real digital native is not you. You are more like a parent or grandparent to the digital natives, and born between 1946 and 1976.

Thanks to Don Tapscott – and the book Grown Up Digital. The abovementioned questions and answers are based on Tapscotts description of the Net Generation, Baby Boomers and Generation X. Not that I agree with his descriptions, by the way.

This test is for fun. Please don’t interpret as anything other than what it is: a test for fun.

Digital Natives do not exist – or do they?

My favorite researcher and blogger, danah boyd, wrote this eye-opening talk for The Symposisum for the Future . I’ve cropped out the most significant sentences:

“Technology does not determine practice. How people embrace technology has less to do with the technology itself than with the social setting in which they are embedded. Those who are immersed in a techno-savvy, technophilic community are far more likely to embrace technology than those whose social world is shaped by other patterns of consumption and communication.

There are also no such things as “digital natives.” Just because many of today’s youth are growing up in a society dripping with technology does not mean that they inherently know how to use it.  They don’t.

Youth learn through active participation, but phrases like “digital natives” obscure the considerable learning that occurs to enable some youth to be technologically fluent while others fail to engage.” – danah boyds blog post

In the book I’m currently reading “Born Digital” the authors use the phrase ‘Digital Natives’ as a characteristic for anyone born in 1980 and after… which means I’m a digital native. I must admit I don’t feel like one. I still haven’t found out how to use twitter proberly  – here after 2,5 years. I have a hard time blogging on regular basis – because what is the real purpose of my writing? I sign up for lots of new features and services, and most of them I never use again because I cannot find the meaning with them.

Even though I feel pretty tech-savy (in the sense of mechanically managing digital devices and services) this doesn’t mean I was born with the ability to UNDERSTAND the social actions on the Internet. I’m still struggling big time with understanding and I would love someone to tell me the meaning of it all.

Who will be my teacher? I need to learn in order to understand what is going on.

YouTube is cultural crap (!)

My notes from Supernova, conference in San Francisco 2007.

Debate btw: David Weinberg & Andrew Keen

We aren’t we drowning in information, as we said 5 years ago? Why is that, asks David Weinberger. Fragmentation of info and authority has always been the web’s challenge. And once again the solution is about metadata. Someone just has to decide how it’s organized… we can’t all be in charge of how to organize the data, says Weinberger, while he shows a picture of a car collision.

In every day life you split your data into one pile. It can only be in one place. Let’s look as an example as doing your laundry. The socks can only be in one pile. Online you have many piles, your socks can be in many piles. Messiness as a virtue and there is no difference between data and metadata. Besides, owners of the information do NOT own the organization of their information. The techniques we have been building makes that possible.

But we need to simplify. We make things more complex in our communication, because knowledge has become social. The mailing list is smarter than the authors in it, cause we all tribute to it. The web is about understanding what we know. It’s all about infrastructure of meaning.

These were the words from Weinberger, and not a simple job to represent an opposition view.

Andrew Keen is author of the newly published book “Cult of the Amateur” and next up. He starts out to claim that power always exists. Authority exists and always will. “I don’t think the web makes anything better, cause there will still be them who decides, whom will have the access to the information on the web.” The so-called web2.0 has been spread in the name of democracy. “YouTube is cultural crap. You have a situation of cultural chaos. People need authority and people to educate them and the web doesn’t to that.”

If we got rid of the digital divide, you would be more than happy? This is the question thrown from Weinberger to Keen. It’s about media literacy. For the masses the web is chaos, they need guides and this media do not provide it.
What is the web bringing of new value? None, says Keen. We are way richer, than we were (before the web2.0), reply Weinberger. We are left with the anarchy of the web.

It’s a debate about the value of authority in a connected world. Old categories, boundaries, hierarchies and scarcities are being swept away. Is that a good thing, or a threat to what we truly value? The agreement – or solution – doesn’t seem to be in reach for the two panelists, David Weinberger and Andrew Keen. However, the audience seems to support Weinberger’s point of view… and so do I.

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