15 October 2012

Social media implications and contexts

Two observations with regard to working as an information professional in education.

Participatory culture includes being a member of a group or “affiliation”, creating new content and feeling that it is valued, and solving problems collaboratively (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, & Weigel, 2006, p. 3). Jenkins et al (2006) also note that participatory culture is essential for success in society.  They observe that many young people actively participate in participatory culture via informal learning through social networking applications and gaming culture.  While these skills, for youth who are able to cultivate them, increase their chances of future academic and vocational success, three issues are raised.   Firstly, that the opportunities are not evenly distributed and the digital divide between school students who have access to fast, consistent Internet services and those who do not, still creates inequity of opportunity. Second, that young people, even when prolific users of the social Web often are not necessarily learning to equate this environment with the structures of power, commercial interests, and other elements shaping their experience.  Third, as socialization amongst young people is taking place in a range of informal arenas, the socio-political preparation for being prolific content creators in the public sphere is in danger of being bypassed. Jenkins et al (2006, p. 12, 15) stress the need to “engage [young people] in critical dialogues” about the online landscape, to develop literacy not only in the use of technology and new media but also in critiquing its constructs.

Nelson (2009, p. 1656) advises that the current development of cloud computing (where both “data and software reside on the Internet”) presents as disruptive a change in the way we use networked computers as the World Wide Web presented in 1993. Adaption to cloud computing will have enormous ramifications for the openness of data, and interoperability between organisations and resources.  It is vital that organisations, including libraries, work tirelessly now to develop and create the appropriate policy frameworks to deal with “open standards, collaboration between cloud service providers, security and privacy, [and] online copyright”, among other factors (2009, p. 1656), in order to contribute to and benefit from the greatly reduced costs, and vast possibilities of running systems in the Cloud. 

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Nelson, M. R. (2009). Building an open cloud. Science, 324(5935), 1656-1657. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/cgi/reprint/324/5935/1656.pdf

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