Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M, boyd, d., Cody, R., Herr-Stephenson, B., Horst, H.A., Lange, P.G., Mahendran, D., Martinez, K.Z., Pascoe, C.J., Perkel, D., Robinson, L., Sims, C., Tripp, L. (2010). Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.
the link above is the pdf to the whole book. Chapters/topics include: media ecologies, friendship, intimacy, families, gaming, creative production and work. It is based on a three-year ethnographic study of on-the-ground youth practices by researchers around the US.
if you don’t have time to read the 441 page book, there are links to the summary of the Digital Youth Research project here.
my notes from the (extensive) introduction:
“Although speciﬁc forms of technology uptake are highly diverse, a generation is growing up in an era where digital media are part of the taken-for-granted social and cultural fabric of learning, play, and social communication.” (p. xi)
US perspective, starting point is literacies and participation in new forms of meadia for a learning outcome.
“Today’s youth may be engaging in negotiations over developing knowledge and identity, coming of age, and struggling for autonomy as did their predecessors, but they are doing this while the contexts for communication, friendship, play, and self-expression are being reconﬁgured through their engagement with new media.” (p. 1)
“There is a growing public discourse (both hopeful and fearful) declaring that young people’s use of digital media and communication technologies deﬁnes a generational identity distinct from that of their elders.” (p. 2)
this is what I hope to find evidence for in the research for this column.
Popular culture and online communication provide a window onto examining youth practice in contexts where young people feel ownership over the social and cultural agenda.
Like the environments of the past: music, literature, art, the liminal activities that happened at the mall, sport…? The “new” media demand participation (rather than simple observation), thus allowing self-expression in a way that other media have not in the past (and thus how other media could only reflect (and, as this book argues, manipulate) youth culture, rather a setting of cultural generation). Music, literature, art, the mall, sport have always been democratised. Now the method of transmission used to get the results of these pursuits out to an audience of peers and others is democratised and can be used for expression.
But does that change the function of “youth culture”?
Within their local life worlds, popular culture can provide kids with a space to negotiate issues of identity and belonging within peer cultures
does “participatory media culture” (Jenkins, 2006) and “hypersociality” (Ito, 2008) change the game?
They distinguish between “friendship-driven” and “interest-driven” participation, co-mingling delineations that distinguish between youth subcultures and the peer interactions that may or may not be interwoven with them. “MySpace and Facebook are the emblematic online sites for [friendship-driven] sets of practice,” but the interest-driven practices are “the domain of the geeks, freaks, musicians, artists, and dorks.”
Although we all experience private moments of learning and reﬂection, a large part of what deﬁ nes us as social beings and learners happens in contexts of group social interaction and engagement with shared cultural forms. Engagement with media (itself a form of mediated sociability) is a constitutive part of how we learn to participate as culturally competent, social, and knowledgeable beings.
aha: a function! and not in any way different from previous participations. it’s just mediated now.
As danah boyd discusses in her analysis of participation on MySpace, networked publics differ from traditional teen publics (such as the mall or the school) in some important ways. Unlike unmediated publics, networked publics are characterized by their persistence, searchability, replicability, and invisible audiences (boyd 2007). With friendship-driven practices, youth online activity largely replicates their existing practices of hanging out and communicating with friends, but these characteristics of networked publics do create new kinds of opportunities for youth to develop their public identities, connect, and communicate.
These technologies facilitate new forms of private, intimate, and always-on communication as well as new forms of publicity where personal networks and social connections are displayed to broader publics than have traditionally been available locally to teens.
this is a nice perspective quote from chapter 1:
When teens are together online and ofﬂ ine, they integrate new media within the informal hanging out practices that have characterized peer social life ever since the postwar era and the emergence of teens as a distinct leisure class.
While the content and form of much of popular culture has changed in the intervening decades, the core practices of how youth engage with media as part of their hanging out with peers remains resilient.
so in other words, they don’t do much that’s different. it’s just “hypersocial” because they use “hypermedia”.
Kids will look for work-arounds and backchannels to undermine institutional regulations. in other words, they’ll push the boundaries to get what they want. clever kids.
“messing around” online, an important part of identity development and social play, demands time and place. and a certain amount of autonomy over media choices. so by restricting kids’ access, this report suggests you are restricting kids’ participation in youth culture.
says danah in Chapter 2 (friendship):
For youth who hope to succeed socially in their school-based peer networks, these kinds of new media literacies are becoming crucial to youth’s participation.
of course, they’ll find ways - whether that’s going to friends’ houses or joining after school clubs.
more from chapter 2:
Just as they have done in parking lots and shopping malls, teens gather in networked public spaces for a variety of purposes, including to negotiate identity, gossip, support one another, jockey for status, collaborate, share information, ﬂ irt, joke, and goof off. They go there to hang out.
here are a couple of ways that danah proposes make the online development and expression of youth culture different from pre-web practices:
social media tend to accentuate the longer-burning trend through the past century toward teens’ developing social and cultural forms that are segregated from adult society.
Teens are able to keep in closer and ongoing touch with one another and to support the relationships that they are nurturing in their local peer-based networks, which most see as their primary source of identity and afﬁliation.
lots in here for those interested. These are just the notes from the first three chapters - those that are particularly relevant to this fortnight’s topic.