Archive for the 'born digital' Category

Chatter, chatter, chatter


Facebook has introduced live chatting with your friends when you’re online and so are they. (See Facebook’s blog post about it here).

Some preliminary observations – I was glad to see that they allow for the ability to go “offline.” (Can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to avoid my friends!) I tested it out as well (I was intrigued) and out of the 10 or so lines of text I sent, about half didn’t go through (apparently there’s still some bugs to be worked out!). One thing I would comment that I don’t like, is that I can’t pick and choose who I have on my chat list. Why does Facebook automatically assume that since I’m Facebook friends with someone, I also want to talk to them?? Seems odd to me….

The idea of chat is nothing new, but I feel slightly annoyed by Facebook adding this feature. I already have Skype, msn Messenger, AIM, and gchat, not to mention my cell phone, my land line, my four e-mail accounts. I think people can reach me if they want to. (but what if I don’t want them to??)

Also interesting to note, seems Facebook has learned from the past. Right in the blog post announcing the chat feature is a paragraph on privacy. Facebook seems to understand that this issue is important to its users, and bringing in new features without consideration of privacy will create a bad-for-business backlash. (Who can forget the “newsfeed” debacle)

The web has definitely made a difference in how we communicate, and how much we communicate. But like we said in class, what about the quality of how we communicate?

I was talking to some of my friends (the live ones, not the Facebook ones) today about this new feature. A comment from one of them – “Facebook is about to implode because of its overwhelming usefulness”

Making the Web less different?


An article in the NY Times describes how an Internet start-up, Vivaty, is attempting to make the Web social world a little bit more like the “real” social world. It is creating virtual graphic chatrooms like those of SecondLife, but having them accessible from a web browser.

Is this making the Web less different but making more of a Web difference? Better technology allows us to emulate real life much more than ever before, and at the same time it allows us to do things we’ve never been able to do before, such as “chat” with someone who is half a world away.

Digital youth book


John Palfrey has blogged about Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected (open access version here), reflecting on the essays and enticing us to read them ourselves. At least some of the essays sound directly relevant to the question of whether the Web is different, especially if you’re a kid.

HBS 2 + 2 Program: Good Web Marketing?


The business school is now offering a 2 + 2 admissions program, which permits college juniors to apply for admission. If accepted, the students work for two years before they matriculate at the business school. For a program of this type, good marketing is essential because most college juniors are likely unaware that they could apply and be accepted to an MBA program while still in college. Obviously I’m not privy to their full advertising strategy, but I’ve seen a bunch of their banner ads on Facebook. Seems like a pretty good way to get the word out to a group of digital natives that is probably not visiting the HBS admissions site at this stage of their academic careers.



nbsp; has implemented many new features that they hope will increase its position in the search engine space. These include automatically including things like images, event listings, news results, and interestingly an encyclopedia entry, that relate(s) to your search term. Today was the first time I noticed the encyclopedia feature and thinking it was neat, clicked on it. I honestly expected to be taken to the Britannica site. To my surprise, when I clicked on the link I was directed to the wikipedia page for my search term.

After the initial surprise passed the first question that came to my mind was: Why did I expect to be taken to the Britannica page? Am I a digital-natives impostor? I struggled with this guilty feeling for awhile before I began writing this post. Maybe, I thought, I still (somewhere in the back of my mind) think that a “real” encyclopedia is something published by someone other than me, or you, or anyone I know for that matter. Maybe I thought wikipedia lacked “real” credibility. But this wouldn’t do, I didn’t want to think that I was a traitor to my digital-native brothers and sisters. I had think of another rationalization for my thoughts.

The only thing I could come up with is this: It might be that wikipedia entries are so unique that people tend to refer to them as just that: wikipedia entries, not encyclopedia entries. Maybe Wikipedia has gained that coveted market position that only companies (product lines) like, Xerox, Kleenex, Q-tip, and most recently Google have attained. That is, the only (or most frequent) way that society refers to the good your company provides is by referring to it as a “your company name,” or even turning your company name into a verb. It is a “Kleenex” and you can “google” something. It is not a stick with cotton on the by Q-tip and it is not a search powered by Google (for the most part). Now it is a “wiki-entry,” not an encyclopedia entry on wikipedia.

Has wikipedia attained this level of marketing, or am I merely rationalizing my treason?

Is the Web killing reading?


Howard Gardner (the famous Harvard psychology prof) says no in a op-ed in the Washington Post.

Class 4 Liveblog


[Due to the format of the class (and maybe also my personal definition of what a liveblog is) I chose not to try to condense the discussion we had, trying to preserve as much of it as possible. Sorry for the resultant length! Also, there are probably some inaccuracies in here, apologies in advance, and feel free to comment if I mangled one of your points.]

__(‘Read the rest of this entry »’)

The Google generation is illiterate


That’s the briefest summary of a very interesting report from University College London. A press release puts it this way:

A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate. The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web. 

Very interesting, and alarming. But it’s important to keep the scope in mind: This report is looking at the Internet as a library. Good scope but not the only one.