“Close Encounters With Digital Citizens”; ILA Annual Conference 2009

So these are some things I overheard librarians saying about Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, at the 2009 Iowa Library Association Annual Conference:

“He just keeps throwing data at you and it’s awesome!”
“He talks so fast and I love him!”
“Lee Rainie is my new boyfriend!”

Lee Rainie: Iowa Librarians have a crush on you.  I hope you don’t think that’s weird.

In his talk “Close Encounters With Digital Citizens,” Rainie mostly threw a lot of data at us about how teenagers use the internet.  He gave a similar talk in January, and those slides are available here (via slideshare):

Here are some fascinating tidbits that you might not necessarily glean from his slides:

  • anonymous inflammatory blog comments = flames
  • Kill Hello Kitty Now” is an amazing website by a teenager
  • Chris Anderson, who has written some kick-ass books, invented the term “freemium,” a mix of free/pay content
  • Manuel Castells is “the great Karl Marx of the digital age.”
  • If teenagers can’t be with the device they love, they love the device they’re with
  • only 8% of teenagers use Twitter, partly because its too narcissistic even for them.  Rainie wonders:  “what does that say about us?”
  • for teenagers, social capital is the most important capital

Finally, Lee Rainie spent a few minutes talking about teenagers and eBooks.  According to recent Pew findings, 3% of American adults are now using some kind of eReader.  Although teenagers generally write (and read) more than their parents did, they don’t really think of it as writing — it’s “texting” and “chatting.”  They have become “snackers” and “browsers” rather than “deep divers.”  Rainie suggested that eBooks could potentially reverse that trend, although that will depend on the future of eInk technology and tablet computing.

(click here to see more links for ILA Annual ’09)


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