WLA 2007: The New Media Ecology

Posted by Lisa Strand on Thursday, October 18, 2007 in WLA Blog Archive
Presented by Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Internet Project. This session is being heavily blogged, so I'm going to share things that stood out to me vs. a blow-by-blow of the presentation.

Some numbers:
  • 93% of teens (ages 12-17) use the Internet
  • 88% of college students (cs) own cell phones
  • 81% of cs own digital cameras
  • 63% of cs own MP3 players
  • 55% of online teens have created social network profiles - 2/3 of them have taken steps to limit the kinds of information shared in their profiles
  • 20% of online adults have social network profiles
  • 39% of online teens share their own creations online (artwork, photos, stories or videos - twice the level of adults)
  • 33% of online teens have created or worked on web pages or blogs for others (13% of online adults do this)
  • 33% of college students blog and regularly post - 54% read blogs (for adults: 12% have a blog and 35% read them)
  • about 1 in 5 YAs have created an avatar that interacts with others online (9% of adults have done this)
Use of social network profiles (for teens):
  • 82% send private messages to a friend within the social networking system
  • 33% wink, poke, or give kudos to friends
  • 84% post messages to a friend's wall or page
It's becoming increasingly difficult to tell if you're on a website or a blog, so the numbers relating to blog use might actually be much higher.

Content creation and participation are important to young people! Youth might be surprised when their future employer or admissions counselor, etc. find the content they have created. Most employers are checking for online presence before hiring someone - what have they written, shared, and created and do we want what to hire them after viewing their content?

Different people use technology different ways. Look at the PEW Report on user typology. And take the quiz to see where you fit. Fascinating stuff! (Rainie mentioned that the data for the report on user typology was gathered through a phone survey, with special effort made to reach cell phone users. The online version was added after the fact to make it easier for additional people to take the quiz.)

Take a look at the Pew Report on Libraries and the Digital Divide.

Life changes in 10 important ways with new media:
  • volume of info grows - "long tail" expands (easier to find obscure things)
  • velocity of info increases - "smart mobs" emerge (we learn things more quickly)
  • venues of intersecting info and people multiply
  • venturing for info changes - changing search habits/strategies
  • vigilance for info transforms - attention is truncated and elongated (age of amateur experts)
  • valence (relevance) of info improves - "Daily Me" and "Daily Us" gets made
  • vetting of info becomes more "social" - credibility tests change as people ping their social networks
  • viewing of info is disaggregated and becomes more "horizontal" - new reading strategies emerge as coping mechanisms (Allen Renear, UI- Champaign-Urbana)
  • voting on and ventilating about info proliferates (tagging, rating, commenting)
  • inVention of info and the visibility or new creators is enabled - the read/write Web 2.0 world is about participation
Rainie's action items:
  • think of yourself as a news node for information and interaction
  • think of yourself as a possible social network node for people looking for "friendsters"
  • think of yourself a an information hub - an aggregator and a linker to others who have useful, interesting material
  • embrace multi-modal multi-plexity in media (channels of info feed each other, interact, and blur)
  • listen to your youngest employees (the digital natives)
  • experiment with Web 2.0
  • monitor the pushback against technology as a time sink and interruption enabler - be participants!
  • be confident in what you already know about how to meet people's reference and entertainment (enlightenment) needs
Hey, Rainie, this is for you: "A fast-paced, informative session from a knowledgeable and entertaining speaker! I feel like this was just the tip of the iceberg, like there's so much more we could learn from Mr. Rainie if we only had more time. Can't wait to hear him speak again some time." :)
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