Thursday, May 20, 2010

About Real-Live Immigration

Ok, so today I've been reading a little bit in the book Born Digital: Understanding The First Generation of Digital Natives. This book argues that digital natives do NOT consider themselves to have an "online" identity and an "offline" identity: instead, identity is something that can be blurred from one "space" to another "space". Digital natives also have a wide network of casual connections to other humans. And digital natives consider information to be malleable. Digital technology allows them to easily manipulate the things around them.

Ok, all of this information is really interesting and all that, but now read this article. This article in the NY Times talks about the generation gap in the immigration debate (and now I'm talking about immigrants from other countries...not digital). It argues that younger generations are much more accepting of immigrants than older generations. WAIT A SEC: BRAINWAVE. What if it is the digital age that has taught digital natives to actually identity with real live immigrants? I mean, look at the parallels! Comfort with fluid identity, human connections with a wider variety of people, inherent desire to manipulate the world around them... Digital natives thrive in a multicultural world because technology has taught them to! Interesting!

I'm still working on what it means that a group of kids labelled as digital "natives" are ACTUALLY more prone to accept real-world "immigrants"... Any thoughts on why the reversal of the metaphor is significant?


  1. Ben sent me a really interesting article "Does Social Media Produce Groupthink?" that I found really interesting. As I was reading, though, I thought you might like a look at it as well. It argues that these waves of social media have reduced our ability to think for ourselves and ingrained a herd mentality as we as a culture tend to follow facebook and twitter trends.

    I was thinking it tied in a bit with your digital native, and how, in following the herd, this new technological generation would distance themselves more and more from previous generational or cultural values because they find themselves slipping to conformity.

  2. Heather! Check this out:
    In contemporary U.S. society, many adolescents spend considerable amounts of time in online interactions (Subramanyam, Greenfield, Kraut, & Gross, 2002). --one person commented here "Some older people not adopting net language"--

    The language used on the Internet demonstrates an evolution of discourse (Crystal, 2001), and adolescents are in the midst of that language evolution (Greenfield & Subrahmanyam, 2003).

    Sometimes referred to as netspeak, the language of the Internet entails both traditional linguistic forms and adapted ones that include slang and non-standard forms that are sometimes used in offline life. Netspeak is an emergent discourse that is shaped entirely by the creativity of its community (Crystal, 2001). The introduction of acronyms (e.g., "lol = laugh out loud," "brb = be right back"), plays or variations on words (e.g., "cya = see you", "latah = later"), graphical icons that represent emotions, called emoticons (e.g., :) or ;-{} ) or graphical icons that represent a real person in a virtual context, called avatars, are all examples of language produced by online communicators. This language continues to evolve and remains an important area of study when considering the ways in which Internet users interact and express who they are.

    Scholars have actively explored how identity and language are manifested in online interactions.

    Current research in computer-mediated communication (CMC) environments such as chat rooms, newsgroups, and MUDs has revealed interesting trends in the way individual identity is presented, language is used, and interactions have transpired (Calvert, 2002; Crystal, 2001; Greenfield & Subrahmanyam, 2003; Herring, 2000; Turkle, 1995). Yet, as new Internet applications are created and embraced, CMC studies must continue to strive toward the understanding of online identity, language, and interaction.
    This is me again! So this doesn't work with your going against the "immigrant" metaphor, however, look at the three things just presented, 1. identity 2. language 3. interaction, ALL are part of the integration process we must go through whether we are born into it and learn it, thus being a "native" or have to STUDY to learn it, such as a cultural study, and thus are an "immigrant"...either way we still must mold our identity, language and interaction to satisfy the agenda of the culture! Does this help? If not, just ignore but if it does and you're interested in reading more here's the URL: