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danah boyd | apophenia » Rule #1: Do no harm.
"Rule #2: Fear-mongering causes harm.

I believe in the enterprise of journalism, even when it lets me down in practice. The fourth estate is critically important for holding systems of power accountable. But what happens when journalists do harm?

On Sunday, a salacious article flew across numerous news channels. In print, it was given titles like “Teenagers can no longer tell the real world from the internet, study claims” (Daily Mail) and “Real world v online world: teens do not distinguish” (The Telegraph). This claim can’t even pass the basic sniff test, but it was picked up by news programs and reproduced on blogs.

The articles make reference to a “Digital Lives” study produced by Vodafone and Google, but there’s nothing in the articles themselves that even support the claims made by the headlines. No quotes from the authors, no explanation, no percentages (even though it’s supposedly a survey study). It’s not even remotely clear how the editors came up with that title because it’s 100% disconnected from the article itself.

So I decided to try to find the study. It’s not online. There’s a teaser page by the firm who appears to have run the study. Interestingly, they argue that the methodology was qualitative, not a survey. And it sounds like the study is about resilience and cyberbullying. Perhaps one of the conclusions is that teens don’t differentiate between bullying at school and cyberbullying? That would make sense.

Yesterday, I got a couple of pings about this study. Each time, I asked the journalist if they could find the study because I’d be happy to analyze it. Nada. No one had seen any evidence of the claim except for the salacious headline flying about. This morning, I went to do some TV for my book. Even though I had told the production team that this headline made no sense and there was no evidence to even support it, they continued to run with the story because the producer had decided that it was an important study. And yet, the best they could tell me is that they had reached out to the original journalist who said that he had interviewed the people who ran the study.

Why why why do journalists feel the need to spread these kinds of messages even once they know that there’s no evidence to support those claims? Is it the pressure of 24/7 news? Is it a Milgram-esque hierarchy where producers/editors push for messages and journalists/staffers conform even though they know better because they simply can’t afford to question their superiors given the state of journalism?

I’d get it if journalists really stood by their interpretations even though I disagreed with them. I can even stomach salacious headlines that are derived by the story. And as much as I hate fear-mongering in general, I can understand how it emerges from certain stories. But since when did the practice of journalism allow for uncritically making shit up? ::shaking head:: Where’s the fine line between poor journalism and fabrication?

As excited as I am to finally have my book out, it’s been painful to have to respond to some of the news coverage. I mean, it’s one thing to misunderstand cyberbullying but what reasonable person can possibly say with a straight face that today’s youth can no longer distinguish between the internet and everyday life!?!? Gaaaah."
danahboyd  2014  fear  journalism  teens  youth  internet  web  cyberbullyingyouth  online  digitaldualism  education 
may 2014 by robertogreco
enough about us - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"This is all really, really good stuff — vital stuff — and yet I find that reading it makes me tired. More about me? More about us? More about the endless performative dance of selfhood? Even if the analysis is critical rather than consumerist or celebratory, it keeps turning us inward. This kind of semiotic/cultural analysis is my thing, in a very serious way, but there’s so much of it now I just want to go for a walk with my dog or sit under a tree and listen to birds or practice some form of kenotic meditation.

Anyone who has ever tried to think knows the value of escaping, from time to time, the gravitational pull of even those topics that most fascinate you and seeing them in new and vivid ways after re-entry. (“The Eureka Phenomenon,” Isaac Asimov called it in an essay that used to be a staple of freshman composition courses.) This is not to say that taking a break from thinking about the technologically-assisted self is an escape from the self. But it reorients you; it reminds you that the world is bigger than your habitual, everyday experience of it. That’s a good thing."
lanjacobs  exhaustion  timeoiut  2014  digitaldualism  identity  self  joshglenn  judithdonath  robhorning  pause  slow  perspective  backburner  isaacasimov 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Urge of the Letter: Social media surely change identity performance....
"Often, the critique of device dependence in connected life today turns on forms of etiquette that emerge or change in the context of technology. Sherry Turkle is perhaps the best-known and most grounded of such critics—and yet I often find myself wondering whether she gets the moral and psychological import of such social forms precisely backward. “I talk to young people about etiquette when they go out to dinner,” she writes in a recent op-ed, “and they explain to me that when in a group of, say, seven, they make sure that at least three people are ‘heads up’ in the ‘talking’ conversation at any one time.” For Turkle, this is evidence of how “[t]echnology doesn’t just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are.” But isn’t this evidence instead of our social malleability and adaptability, our capacity for incorporating devices and signals into new modes of address? And as Jurgenson points out in the quote above, it isn’t as though devices arrived in the midst of a sociable utopia of autonomous persons engaged in exchanges of authenticity—for we humans always have deployed rituals and discursive forms to discipline, mediate, and construct social selves.

On the other hand, I’m reminded of Bruce Sterling’s observations about disconnection, in which device-independence becomes a kind of luxury practice akin to boutique poultry farming and meditation retreats—an indulgence of those wealthy enough to afford assistance in human form, or can avoid those dependencies of work, social, and civic life that increasingly require us to maintain our tech-mediated connectivity. Devices can make us susceptible to surveillance and control in insidious and comprehensive ways. It’s important to remember, however, that such control is not a thing technology does to us out of some inherent hegemonic impulse, but the result of choices we make about its design and use."
2014  matthewbattles  digitaldualism  nathanjurgenson  sherryturkle  brucesterling  nuance  disconnection  socialmedia  identity  performance  etiquette  context  technology  morality  psychology  malleability  behavior  adaptability  society  social  mediation  discipline  connectivity  surveillance  control  design  choice 
january 2014 by robertogreco
What a dodo might teach us about books / Snarkmarket
"We seem to be living in a perpetual age of the death throes of The Book. 1 There are too many pieces to count that insist that the book is dead or (despite all odds) is thriving, that paper books are different/better/worse than electronic books, that game apps will save books, blah blah blah. We seem to rehash the same surface-level observations over and over again. As my friend Alan Jacobs wondered, “Why do people still write as though they’re the first ones to think about the difference between e-books and codices?” I’ll spare you my thoughts on the subject, since I’ll only gripe about how people misunderstand the complexities of books, whether on a print or a digital platform, and who wants to read more griping?

If you want to think about these questions through experiencing them, let’s look instead at some books that live on the boundary between print and electronic. The obvious starting place is Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse’s Between Page and Screen (Siglio Press, 2012): it exists in a codex form that can be held in your hand but to read it, you’ll need a computer. The pages of the book are black-and-white geometric shapes that are referred to as markers or hieroglyphs or sigils. The shapes aren’t legible as words to the human eye; hold them up to your webcam, however, and the book’s website will show back to you the poem floating above the page."

"There are other books that take the graphic approach to the question of where the boundary is between print and electronic. Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg’s 56 Broken Kindle Screens: Photographed E Ink, Collected Online, Printed On Demand (2012) consists of 56 images of broken Kindle screens found on Flickr and then reproduced in a print-on-demand paperback. The images can be gorgeous, and I love both the way it turns broken objects into art and the layers of mediation, moving from e-ink to pixel to paper, that goes into producing it. And my scholar’s heart loves that at the back of the book are credits for each image.

There’s also the more straightforward projects of printing out the web. Rob Matthews, in 2012, printed out 0.01% of Wikipedia as a 5000-page, 1’7” tall book (XKCD, by the way, has worked out how many printers it would take to print out the entire English-language Wikipedia). There’s the ongoing Printing out the Internet (“A crowdsourced project to literally print out the entire internet.”), which doesn’t seem as clever to me as it does to its creators, although it’s apparently somehow intended to memorialize Aaron Swartz. If that’s not enough, the Library of the Printed Web displays the terrifying number of projects devoted to variations of this enterprise. It makes me weary just thinking about it. I do love The Art of Google Books, however, and if its creator, Krissy Wilson, does end up making a book from the Tumblr (as she suggests she’s interested in doing), I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

My favorite book for thinking about technologies and obsolescence is A Dodo at Oxford: The Unreliable Account of a Student and His Pet Dodo (Oxgarth Press, 2010). This book, edited by Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson, purports to be a facsimile edition of a 1695 printed diary of an student at Oxford who owned a dodo. Atkins and Johnson tell the story of finding the book in an Oxfam, searching for more information about it, and finally editing it for us today. The bulk of the volume is their facsimile replication of the diary with their annotations in the margin explaining various historical facts and oddities; there are also a series of appendices explaining early modern printing, including the use of the long-s, ligatures, and signature marks.

Perhaps the main thing to remember as the fruitless debate circles and circles is that any opposition between print and digital is, today, ridiculous. You might think you’re reading a paper book, but it was, I promise you, produced through digital means. The person who wrote it is overwhelmingly likely to have used a computer to do so, it was edited and typeset using software, its distribution is enabled and tracked with databases, and it is reviewed and discussed in both electronic and physical spaces that are enabled by technology. 3

It’s not a black-and-white world out there. Our methods of producing and consuming books will continue to be as multiply shaded as our reactions to them has always been. So here’s to reading instead of fretting!"
snarkmarket  books  ebooks  sarahwerner  howweread  2014  software  digiital  digitaldualism  alanjacobs  print  papernet  reading 
january 2014 by robertogreco
It is a generational thing, of course. The worst... - more than 95 theses
“It is a generational thing, of course. The worst offenders are teenagers – in terms of the group who are the most distracted because this is the generation who never knew life when it was “real”. They live in the continuous future. They have no experience of subtlety, nuance or considered responses – only of instant, illiterate and ill-considered ones. The gratification teens crave is not the warm smile of affection or the approving comment from another human, but the sense of achievement they gain from electronic validation. Emails, texts and updates pinging in reassure them they are alive and popular and abreast of rolling social news.”

"So true. I remember what it was like back in my day: we teenagers then were masters of subtlety and nuance, and we considered every response most carefully. What a falling-off there has been to the little monsters that surround us now…"
offmydamnlawn  generations  generationalstrife  manners  etiquette  distraction  cellphones  mobilephones  2012  adolescents  teens  digitaldualism  alanjacobs 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Why Children Laugh at the Word “Cyberbullying” » Cyborgology
"Kids don’t as deeply distinguish between online and offline bullying, just as they don’t distinguish between online and offline sociality. Their lives are full of everyday drama, smoothly transitioning between the social contexts of schools, homes, and social media (see: media ecologies). As such, the response from my focus group students is particularly telling. “Cyberbullying” is an “old lady word” created by grownups trying to figure out all this “new” online activity, and it’s yet another clear case of what other authors on this blog have described as digital dualism. In the Internet safety arena, digital dualist frames do not simply draw distinctions between online and offline social life – they are used to blame existing social problems on the social technologies that make them visible in new ways. Bullying, predation and exposure to “inappropriate content” have been seen as problems long before the widespread adoption of the Internet and information technologies by kids…"
children  kids  teens  adolescents  oldladywords  distinction  offline  online  2012  digitaldualism  terminology  bullying  cyberbullying  nathanfisk 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The overlapping consensus |
"At the Do Lectures in Wales, in a field, overcome by irritation at the privileging of the artisanal and handmade, I remember writing in my notebook that “things virtual are more real than they are here, they stand better for ourselves than we do; it is us who are transient and insubstantial.” … This division, between online and off, is a mental illusion, one we propagate to keep ourselves sane for lack of better metaphors, just as we keep our physics safe through wave/particle duality. The notion of things coexisting along different axes of definition terrifies the animal brain—it always has. But we nevertheless live these dualities, these muliplicities, all the time. I am in a square in the Raval in Barcelona, I am everywhere. The network is here but not here but everywhere. These things are not the same, but they overlap in ever more concrete, confusing ways; the consensual hallucination is not dreamed but always with us and between us."
jamesbridle  digital  physical  irl  networks  networkculture  culture  2012  networkedculture  via:Preoccupations  digitaldualism  cyberspace  reallife  web  online  internet  offline  reality  life 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The IRL Fetish – The New Inquiry
"In great part, the reason is that we have been taught to mistakenly view online as meaning not offline. The notion of the offline as real and authentic is a recent invention, corresponding with the rise of the online. If we can fix this false separation and view the digital and physical as enmeshed, we will understand that what we do while connected is inseparable from what we do when disconnected. That is, disconnection from the smartphone and social media isn’t really disconnection at all: The logic of social media follows us long after we log out. There was and is no offline; it is a lusted-after fetish object that some claim special ability to attain, and it has always been a phantom."

"The clear distinction between the on and offline, between human and technology, is queered beyond tenability. It’s not real unless it’s on Google; pics or it didn’t happen. We aren’t friends until we are Facebook friends. We have come to understand more and more of our lives through the logic of digital connection. Social media is more than something we log into; it is something we carry within us. We can’t log off.

Solving this digital dualism also solves the contradiction: We may never fully log off, but this in no way implies the loss of the face-to-face, the slow, the analog, the deep introspection, the long walks, or the subtle appreciation of life sans screen. We enjoy all of this more than ever before. Let’s not pretend we are in some special, elite group with access to the pure offline, turning the real into a fetish and regarding everyone else as a little less real and a little less human."
human  reality  life  cyberspace  digitaldualism  facebook  fetishism  web  sherryturkle  reallife  offline  online  2012  nathanjurgenson  irl 
june 2012 by robertogreco

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