the culture and values of social media

CNN: Online Sharing, the rock n’ roll of the digital generation

Posted: December 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: internet culture | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

I was apparently CNN’s go-to privacy researcher last week as I’m heavily quoted in this (pretty good) piece on young people and sharing:

Alice Marwick, a social-media researcher for Microsoft Research, predicts that the stereotype of young people oversharing online may be starting to fade.

“I think that, a few years ago when this concern was really at a peak, the people who were judging young people for their online information practices weren’t really using social media themselves,” she said. “As we see more people in their 40s and 50s and 60s get involved … I think we’re going to see much less of this generational schism than we do today.”

Marwick is quick to point out, though, that age might not be the best way to judge attitudes, and aptitude, regarding digital privacy.

“Someone’s level of education, their access to technology in the home — those types of things are going to have more of an effect on their comfort level than their age,” she said.

This is part of my campaign to eradicate “generations” rhetoric, which I truly dislike. It encourages moral panics about what the “kids” are doing, it paints extremely diverse populations with a single brush, and it often takes educated, middle-class experience and universalizes it. You tell me all young people are super tech-savvy and I’ll show you a class of NYU students where 50% didn’t know you could edit Wikipedia, and one asked me what a browser was; and you tell me all young people are lazy, video-game addicted social deviants and I’ll show you a kid from a working-class family who’s addicted to 4Chan, very active in his church, and aspiring to be a US Marine. We do young people a disservice when we make broad claims about them and then attempt to regulate their behavior based on this. Tip of the hat to article author Doug Gross for acknowledging this diversity.


One Comment on “CNN: Online Sharing, the rock n’ roll of the digital generation”

  1. 1 Doni said at 9:56 pm on February 10th, 2011:

    This post has so much truth! I hate the generalizations older people (and some young)make about computer usage. As you know I’m a fashion blogger so when I’m seen on my laptop and someone approaches me and immediately says “What are you doing…on facebook?” frankly, it pisses me off.

    I do more online than share my every move and make cutesy statuses, as they don’t realize until something big happens.

    (Excuse my rant, lol)

    But regarding the non-tech savvy young people…I personally know a recent college graduate who didn’t know how to 1. Create a zip file and 2. Attach a file to an email.

    It was hard to hide my feelings towards this person, lol.

    So great meeting you today! I’m bookmarking your blog!


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