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Subject: Re: Tom Hodgkinson's op-ed in The Guardian on Facebook
From: Paul Burton <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Burton <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 18 Jan 2008 17:19:08 -0600

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Comments below

> Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 15:43:28 -0600> From: [log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: Tom Hodgkinson's op-ed in The Guardian on Facebook> To: [log in to unmask]> > ***** To join INSNA, visit *****> > On Jan 18, 2008 2:06 PM, Paul Burton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:> > > ***** To join INSNA, visit *****> >> > I have to agree with some of Tom's points. Facebook / MySpace et al is> > often a substitute for the real thing. Web 2.0 has many benefits, but it> > seems to have impeded a teenager's ability to a) speak and b) write. My 19> > year-old son would rather text than speak to his girlfriend. His cell phone> > bill each month is a small amount of voice calls, but thousands of texts.> > Any parent of a teenager knows this all too well (!!). Staying online and> > capturing friends may keep them entertained, but the result is a teenager> > with a stunted ability to have an actual conversation with others. One can> > see how Gen Y will have substantial problems with public speaking, for> > instance. Yes, we have YouTube, but that's a one-sided delivery.> > > I disagree, based on my own experience with teens and post-teens who make> substantial use of SMS. I find that they spend substantial time with others> and use text to sustain their relationships when they're not close, and to> arrange meetings. I've seen no evidence of "stunted ability to have an> actual conversation" that I didn't see in members of the same age group> before SMS was available - ie. teens are sometimes socially awkward,> regardless.
A: Sure, many teenagers are socially awkward -- but is it not common sense to think that an excessive amount of online conversation leaves less time for the real thing?  Let's not even mention video games -- while I don't have an article in my back pocket, there's been much talk about the problems of excessive gaming leading to obesity, for example, not to mention affected "real" relationships with peers. 
> > > Some research has shown that teenagers actually use web communication as a> > shield from the 'real thing,' where they can assume contrived personalities> > to build relationships (if you want to call it that).> > Can you cite this research?
See "Cyberpersonalities in Virtual Communities:"> > > > We've all heard of marriages online, with young kids moving across the> > country to marry someone they've never met. When they finally do have a> > face-to-face conversation, how quickly the rules change.> > I hadn't heard of this, can you provide examples?
The divorce statistics are not out yet; article that sees both sides: 
> > > Text messaging has clearly impeded the ability for teenagers to write. I> > can only speculate how professors deal with it. I'm amused by the research> > on educating Gen Y, where much effort is placed on designing the appropriate> > learning environment for teens: "keep messages short. Change information> > constantly. Play to their short attention spans."> > Can you give a source for this advice?
Forrester research presentation (link proprietary): "Designing for Gen Y" notes that this group is easily bored, noting that design should take note. Recommendations include designing content that stresses immediacy.  "Gen Yers scan, they don't read" and "use sentence fragments and images, not text."  Try CLO media also for further presentations
> > > What's scary is by following such tech trends, many teenagers have been> > dulled by it enough to avoid real-world contact. Take driving for example.> > I recall my eagerness to get my drivers license, so I could get wheels and> > explore the world. Now, many teenagers are in no hurry at all to drive;> > they'd rather stay online. Why take the time to actually leave the house> > when everyone's available on my cell?> > My experience has been that teens are as eager as ever to start driving. I> would actually prefer otherwise - I suspect a late start is safer.> > > We have to admit that in some cases, these social technological> > developments have impeded relationships and learning.> > I guess I don't feel that I have to admit either, but I'm open to convincing> argument.
--I'd like to stress the advantages of such technology are clear; but is it all good? > > ~ Jon L.> > -- > Jon Lebkowsky>> > Polycot Associates>> > _____________________________________________________________________> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social> network researchers ( To unsubscribe, send> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
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