United States International

Social media use unevenly distributed

Social media use unevenly distributed
by: Wayne MacPhail

Ask almost any college or university professor about how their students use the Web and you'll most likely hear this: "Oh, man, these kids today, they're just so in tune with the online world."

Well, you know what? They're wrong.

Don't believe me? See for yourself. Do the simple test I've done a dozen times in the past three years at Ontario colleges and universities. Walk into a post-secondary classroom and ask how many kids:

• Use RSS feeds
• Use social bookmarking
• Know what an embed is
• Know what a tag is
• Use flickr
• Use Twitter
• Posted anything online
• Have ever heard of seesmic, mogulus.com or ustream

You'll see zero hands for RSS feeds, social bookmarking and embeds. A tentative couple will be hoisted at "tag". Almost none for flickr, zero for Twitter. And seesmic, mogulus and ustream? Zilch. Which is pretty strange, because all of those are either key aspects of social media, or are social media or video sharing sites that are hot right now.

So, you'd think that these supposedly web-savant students would be pretty hip to it all. Nope. And this is true even in classrooms where it absolutely should not be the case. I recently did a guest lecture to a class of students in the MA Journalism program at the University of Western Ontario.

These are smart, privileged students who have self-selected for an interest in media. Same results. Blank stares and almost all hands on desks.

Sure, many of the students know facebook, MySpace and MSN Messenger. They know how to surf the web and write Word documents. After that, they're pretty much as out-of-touch as their unnecessarily envious profs.

Read the entire article at: http://rabble.ca/news_full_story.shtml?sh_itm=9974262c787c8f6c21e254bdff2deaee&rXn=1&

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