I've been asking various questions about technology and tools in order to get a sense of where people are at, while also soliciting ideas and input for improving the use of technology to support learning throughout their member organization.
In general, the young women I have interviewed describe themselves as "very comfortable with technology." Some claim to feel lost without an Internet connection, but hey, don't we all? Computers are a fact of their lives.
Some things have surprised me, most have not. A few trends:
- Not ONE person has even heard of Second Life. This was a little wake up call to me as I sit in my little e-Learning world, trying to immerse myself in all that is new. The rest of the world is not in this technology bubble yet. I would explain a bit about SL and the general response was, "that sounds interesting."
- Not ONE person has a blog. A few people have "read" a few blogs -- written by friends with photos of children. One woman told me that she used to blog in LiveJournal, but there was just way too much personal information that was getting shared with the universe, so she deleted her account.
- Everyone who has graduated from college since 2005 has a FaceBook account. Most everyone accesses it multiple times within a day. This is a main way of staying connected to friends.
- A couple of people also had MySpace accounts. But mostly not. MySpace is seen as being too "creepy". Too much information is out there. "It's not safe." I'm not sure how this relates to danah boyd's recent blog article on Viewing American class divisions through FaceBook and MySpace. These young women are all college educated. I had read Danah's article before starting my interviews and was listening for any judgment based on class. I didn't hear anything direct or obvious. Safety and creepy were the big buzzwords I heard. A few people commented that MySpace is too garish; the FaceBook look and feel is more classic.
- Only two people admitted to any regular game play. One of the gamers plays with her brother; the other described obsessively playing Dance Dance Revolution with college roommates at her house. I wonder how this would differ if I had been asking young college males about gaming? Hmm....It appears to me that the gaming gender divide is alive and well.
- No Blackberrys or Treos in the crowd. Lots of cellphones. Lots of laptops.
Can you confirm or deny any of these trends? Does any of this matter?
Check out A Deserted Second Life and My First Second Life Experience if you want to hear more about how actual people are interacting with Second Life.