Admit it: you wouldn’t mind surfing Facebook, Myspace and Livejournal all day and then writing a doorstopper about socialization in the digital age for your doctoral dissertation, earning you a hefty degree and no discernably marketable job skills to go with it. That’s what we call uni, folks.
In the geekiest venture since the invention of fantasy sports, Internet nerds researched and wrote about Internet nerds, and all of them got together and had a party this past week at Stanford University. As far as we can discern from the report, the public forum on “New Media in the Everyday Lives of Youth” has the following to tell us about our screensucking, l33tsp33k-ing ways:
- Mark Twain would make an awesome emo kid.
- We use the Internet to validate our friendships. Also our lives.
- The digitalization of, well, everything has resulted in the rearrangement of domestic space, including a trend towards “media-rich bedrooms”. Code words for GTFO?
- “Marginal” teens like budding hiphop stars from downtown San Francisco can find communities of lifeminded peers online.
Danah Boyd — whups, we meant danah boyd — stars. Remember danah boyd? (For reasons unknown, the Berkeley doctoral candidate’s name appears in lower case in the report, on the SF Chron, on her website and in the Washington Post.) She wrote that one essay equating Facebook with white kids and MySpace with Latinos, art fags, goths and queer teens — an essay that was saved by, count ‘em, 2,221 people on del.icio.us. She regularly attends Burning Man. She looks like this. Oh, that hair! Oh, those glasses! We love it when Ph.D candidates wear black and pink wrist scrunchies and look indietastic.
According to boyd, the typical conversation on Facebook ‘wall’ might look like this:
‘yo, whaz up?’
‘not much. how you?’
But actually translates to so much more:
‘I’m thinking of you and want validation that we’re still friends and you’re still thinking of me.’
‘Yes of course I am, silly, and I’ll announce it publicly.’
Well, now. Try as we might, we can’t argue with that.