Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A good book (about digital)



danah boyd and several others wrote this book. If your work involves understanding teenagers, and how they interact with social networks, you could do worse than reading danah's blog, papers or presentations. As the book title suggests, 'Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out' describes different ways teens are interacting with digital. They describe "different levels of investment in new media activities".

'Hanging out' is mostly about friends being together. They just happen to do this online, but the focus is about being with their friends.

'Messing around' is a notch up from this. Teens use online to find information. Using search engines, wikipedia, forums etc. Their experimentation and playing with music, images, videos and photos is also included under 'Messing around'.

'Geeking out' is a step up again on this. And is some of the more intense activities teens get involved with online. This might include media fandom around stuff like Harry Potter or the Japanese Anime comics. And also includes gaming.

'Geeking' should not be confused with 'geeks'. The authors explain that these are not "geeks" as we might know the term - but rather kids very enthusiastic about a particular hobby. For example, they could even be sports nuts. And this is not really about digital for the sake of it. It just happens to be their way to get into their hobby and the online communities around it.

Like I said, if understanding digital and teenagers is important to you or your job, you'll learn stuff in this. It is research-led and allows you to get up close into the homes of the teens and their families. Here at amazon.

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