Digital Natives

  • I have a strong feeling that certain headlines and assertions about the Brexit result are if not factually wrong, at least very misleading. I refer to statements that summarize charts and tables like the ones above in this way: “The U.K.’s Old Decided for the Young in the Brexit Vote” “Brexit is a middle finger from the baby boomers to young people like me” “Young screwed by older generations” “Young voters wanted Brexit the least - and will have to live with it the longest” Fact is, it was very clear, well before the vote, that opinions varied greatly across age ranges and that
  • Some months ago, TechCrunch reported that, on High-Tech cruise ships like the Quantum Of The Sea, “Wi-Fi is fast and it’s everywhere” for one specific reason that I really don’t like .“The real goal here is to offer… constant connectivity for always-on passengers – namely the kids of older passengers. While Mom and Mom enjoy a fine tipple on the fo’c’s’le, kids can keep texting. It’s a sad compromise but one necessary to keep nervous gadget lovers happy on vacation.
  • An interesting article at The Conversation concludes that: perhaps it’s time for the pen to say it’s farewells for regular use in the classroom, replaced by the smartphone and relegated to ‘writing time’, just like we used to have “computer time” back when I was a kid. I agree that, in classes where all the students and teachers have both a smartphone and affordable bandwidth always available, smartphones may do much more to improve learning than it usually happens in such classes.
  • I didn’t have time before to comment on a tweet I saw last April: “Mobile Web is dead. It’s all about apps. Hmmm, are we sure? That’s not what that pie chart tells me. I see a different, much more serious issue there. If that’s how things stand, what is dead or dying is the usage of mobile devices for doing anything else than playing, disposable chatting or passive content consumption, just like in that old Pioneer commercial.
  • The ubiquitousness of no-brain-required social networks and mobile apps has made many people forget, or never learn, a boring truth of digital life: a LOT non-ephemeral online communication still happens via less glamorous, but much more effective tools like email and mailing list. This can have unintended consequences. It is in your interest to understand this, because it is still almost impossible that you can live an adult life without using email at all, and it will be so for a few more years, at least.
  • In December 2013 I came across something I still consider yet another proof of two things: first, much trust in the actual competence of many “digital savvy” Internet users is misplaced; second, many of the proposed alternatives to current social networks are trying to solve the wrong problem. Since it’s still relevant, here is a quote from an email in the public archive of the mailing list (emphasis mine): It is clear to me that a growing number of everyday local residents are actually offended or at least perturbed if you ask them to use something other than Facebook to engage in their local community online.
  • _(this is a partial translation of an article I published on the italian Pionero Web magazine in April 2014. The second part is here). _Several of my publications and projects come, among other things, from these considerations (which of course I am not the only one to have made!): my official slogan since 2006⁄2007: Your civil rights and the quality of your life heavily depend on how software is used AROUND you