Talking to the darkness

The late book review

This is a brief roundup of work I have been looking at because I should really be working on my final submission. I looked at: danah boyd’s doctoral paper, Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics. I had seen papers and talks based on her PhD thesis but it was good to see the original. danah boyd explores the world of American teenagers on social networking sites especially Facebook and Myspace. She plots the rise of such sites and the ways they are used by teenagers. It is interesting that she sees a totally different client base for Myspace and Facebook that are defined by social class and intellectual ability. I am not sure that this definition applies in the UK but it does not mean that such divisions do not exist with other sites more popular here than in the US. What she does is have a calm quiet discussion of a part of cultural life that can still be seen as time wasting, disreputable and dangerous by others influential in society and education. I come away feeling that the use of social network sites by teenagers is a positive influence of the future of our society, rather than the world of socially inadequate people so often typified in media scare stories.

I have also looked at: Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. I found this very hard going and I realised it was because I wanted to argue and shout at the author all the time. Jenkins believes that because we can take other peoples work and develop this forward this is creativity Or media creativity. No this is the development of someone else’s idea, it is the difference between a copy and the original,  going to see the original band or watching collection of lookalike performers play some old songs. Just because we can work out the ending of a TV program we are participating in the process of making that program. Yes we have always participated if we read the book or watch the play. What we can perhaps say is that there is a wide and diverse group that participate in media technology but there is also a group who does not. Some may not have access and are thus disenfranchised, however, there are also those for whom the internet and internet culture is not relevant. Media cultures are great and empowering for some but once Iran blocks Twitter and Facebook the battle still continues even if it is a more desparate, silent and deadly battle. Sorry Henry!


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