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For teens, social media is not technology, it’s just life

For teens, social media is not technology, it’s just life

Tim Finin, 10:23pm 13 January 2008

Alan Kay got it right when he said “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” — a quote I’d not heard until I saw it on danah boyd‘s blog recently. She cited it to explain why today’s youth find it so natural to use Internet technology while their parents find it a bit strange and artificial.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project published a report on Teens and Social Media with the tag line “The use of social media gains a greater foothold in teen life as they embrace the conversational nature of interactive online media”.

“Some 93% of teens use the Internet, and more of them than ever are treating it as a venue for social interaction — a place where they can share creations, tell stories, and interact with others.
    The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004.
    Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Male teens, however, do dominate one area — posting of video content online. Online boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online where others could see it.”

The Kay quote reminds me of Arthur C. Clark’s third law:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

although I am not sure anyone really sees blogging as magic. Maybe it’s not yet sufficiently advanced.


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