Random Thoughts

"I'm not like my dad, I don't have a web site."

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Robert Scoble started a Friendfeed discussion with the following:

How generations change: my son, tonight, after seeing something new
from Google told the team “I’m not like my dad, I don’t have a web

It’s a statement from a 15 year old that I think captures how this generation sees the web. It’s not a place of static webpages or information, but  rather a place to communicate, keep in touch, play, and create for your own. The discussion has some pretty good take aways.

Making websites is time consuming and, in my opinion, not necessary if
you simply need a place to publish to the web, talk with friends and
get yourself out there.
Brandon Titus

It is time consuming and no longer serves the needs for most of the Internet generation. Sure there are still webpages out there, but blogs or blog like sites are becoming the norm. I left my first comment on The Seattle Times website the other day. Think about that….a newspaper where you can interact with others reading the same article. This is nothing new of course as my dad does the same thing. Every morning during the summer harvest he starts every day at 4am at the local coffee shop. My dad and the rest of the “the boys” talk about the news, the neighborhood, politics, and their lives. We’ve always talked about what’s happening…now we can just do it from places like Bangkok, Thailand.

It took me back to how I found my doctor. She’s #1 on Yelp but yet had
never been there. The world is changing and it no longer is only about
having a website.
Robert Scoble

I would agree….today it’s about having a facebook page, it’s about having a Twitter account, it’s about having places that allows others to connect with you, find you, communicate with you. The static web is slowly fading away.

Sounds like the teenager asked by Don Tapscott (“Wikinomics”) about why
she was not using email to communicate with friends. Reply: “Hmm …
email. That would be the sort of thing you’d use to send a thank you
letter … to your friend’s … parents!”
John W Lewis

What is e-mail used for? How is its use changing? Our generation (first web generation) cling to e-mail as our communication vehicle. We ask “What’s your e-mail address?” while this generation just says “I’ll look you up on Facebook.”

They use e-mail differently, if they use it at all. You have an e-mail address because you need one to register for sites. I find it interesting that our generation talks about and hates e-mail spam, yet I have yet to hear a student ever complain about the spam they recieve. Why is that? Why does it not bother them and yet bothers use?

I think that domains will become mostly for business and the like while
personal profiles will be controlled by social networks, profile sites
(Google profiles) etc.
Brandon Titus

@Robert maybe – or maybe it’s about owning an identity you control
which may indeed look like a website but function as an identity broker
owned by the user
Chris Saad

I agree…I think this is where the internet is heading. I own the domain jeffutecht.com but it’s becoming more of a profile site. I’m working on an update that I should have finished in a week or so, it will focus more on my “Lifestream” and less on the static content. It will be a place that pulls my web profiles all into one place to give an overview of what I’m about and where I’m at, and what I’m doing. It will become my identity control.

Are we helping students understand this? Students have their identities out there how do we leverage their facebook, twitter, friendfeed identities in our schools to help them create and control a positive identity? Is it our job? Who’s job is it?

It was never about having a website. It never will be. It will always
will be using the right tools to reach the right people. People that
you care about and people that care about you.
Akshay Dodeja

And that’s the ah-ha moment. I started my first website when I moved overseas. I had built one for my school my first year of teaching (for people who care about the school), but it wasn’t until I needed a way to communicate and share with those that cared about me that I created a website. That website no longer exists but in its place is a Facebook profile, a Flickr account, a youtube channel, and this blog. Places for people who care about me to know what I’m up to, and is a way for me to communicated out to them. The tools have always been about reaching people. Whether it’s reaching the person looking for your product or reaching that friend you’ve lost touch with. The interent has always been about making connections.

Websites are so 1990s

Stephen Pickering

Very few websites are being created anymore that do not have a blog tied to them or some way to easily update information and communicate with users and those who care about the product. Google has a blog for each of it’s products, not a website. Newspapers are folding and building large blogging networks, not static web pages for their articles. Just as my dad wants to be able to talk about what’s going on, so does this next generation. They’re still going to go to the coffee shop, but it will be one with wifi where they can not only talk to “the boys” in person but also communicate with others around the world that care about the same subjects. This is the world we live in and it’s the only world our students know. Are we preparing them for it?

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  6. Hey Jeff,

    Great post. I’m looking for the “share this” or “post to facebook” options on your blog post…

    Seriously, I’d have this linked on my Facebook right away.

    (now I’ll get busy on my own blog options – grin)

    • Thanks for pointing this out to me. You will now find the button at the end of the post. 🙂

      Not sure if it comes through in an RSS Feed though. 🙂

  7. I wanted to address your point about who is responsible for helping children develop positive identities on sites like Facebook and Twitter. One answer is the adults who read their entries.

    I have connected with several former students who are now in high school. Just this evening I was struggling with how to let one student know that talking about drugs and sex just aren’t appropriate as comments on pictures I’ve posted of their past class activities. I know she is a sweet, intelligent, rambunctious girl in a single parent family. Mom may not have the time or the know-how to see what her daughter is writing.

    The trick is how can I do this in a way that encourages her to continue to share and keep in touch?

    • And that’s the issue. As an adult and educator we feel it is our responsibility to help students navigate this new world. How do you encourage them and yet hope they stay in touch is a question that I’m not sure many have the answer to. Facebook is a private personal space, except it isn’t. It’s a public place where you and anyone else you connect to get to communicate. Kids forget about and teaching them about controlling their profile is something I agree we should all be teaching.

  8. The title of your post really captures how online communications is changing. What we thought is cutting edge is now so 5 years ago. The convergence and integration of social media sites is the real issue today, not establishing your own website. In a sense the challenges today are more complex requiring more synthesis. That is exciting for an educator.

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  10. I was having a conversation about The Divide with a teacher only a few years older than me (early 30’s), and I asked him that if he bought a digital camera, would he use the manual. He said that he absolutely would. This is one such telling example of the way people from a certain age (mine, perhaps: 27) on down experience technology, and perhaps learning; I don’t think I have ever explored an owner’s manual to anything I have ever owned, and yet know that I get more out of my digital equipment (cell phone, camera, iPod – I’ve yet to consolodate these three into the iPhone) than my elders relying on the factory’s suggested uses.

    Similarly, our students (and some teachers, as I’ve been blogging in one form or another, and exploring online communities since 2000) do not see the web as it was pragmatically imagined: as the great source of information (phone numbers, word definitions, and the most expansive encyclopedias yet known to man). But rather, the ‘new’ generation sees the web as it has evolved into a living community, whereby the collective exploration, tinkering and communication of users actually creates information.

    If the digital landscape is a brand new digital camera, there are those of us playing with it (who have already found out how to use the burst feature to capture twenty frames of that bmx wipe-out) and those reading the manual (who have figured out how to turn it on, and take a snapshot using the timer).

    • Linda Weeks Reply

      I thought the manual was only for those who couldn’t figure it out for themselves – last minute, desperate!

      I think it’s dangerous to classify people according to age – know of many younger than me (under 50), who struggle with technology, older people who are doing wonderful things well beyond me, and parents (sigh) who struggle with a mobile phone.

      I am also beyond believing that all of Gen Y are tech savvy. They know what they know, that’s all. And need guidance to expand their ability on facebook etc. to ‘Next Generation’ applications (what is demanded by future employers) in the future.

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  12. Great post – I think the majority of the people who are trying to get adjusted to the online world are struggling with several aspects, such as having their whole lives digitally displayed, how “cyber-stalking” is becoming so prevalent, and how quickly information can now spread and how public it is. Maybe it’ll get better soon, maybe it won’t.

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