Archive for new media

Google Generation a Myth?

Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future, released earlier this year, suggests that the Google Generation is a myth.

In particular, it found that academics and researchers are “power-browsing” or skimming material, and using “horizontal” (shallow) research. Most spent only a few minutes looking at academic journal articles and few returned to them. “It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense,” said the report authors.

And this behaviour was not restricted to ‘screenagers’.

“From undergraduates to professors, people exhibit a strong tendency towards shallow, horizontal, flicking behaviour in digital libraries. Factors specific to the individual, personality and background are much more significant than generation.”

This is an interesting take on the ‘digital native’ concept, and suggests that today’s youth are not the only generation with a national facility for navigating digital information.

As digital media researcher Margaret Weigel says: “being a media studies person and a lover of history, you learn that over time, modalities change, but human capacities rarely do.”


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The dog ate my iPod!

I wonder if the time-honoured ‘the dog ate my homework’ excuse is finally dead and buried as a new generation of kids blame the dog for eating their iPods?

Schools and universities are already waking up to the potential of the iPod as an educational tool, podcasting lectures, making audiobooks available for students and using iPods to record music lessons, for example.

In the foreseeable future, iPods will become essential pieces of equipment in every student’s digital backpack.

Instead of being seen as disruptive devices with no place in the classroom, iPods can be exciting educational and training tools.

In the future, the MP3 player will probably look more like a memory stick with a roll out screen, and have enough memory to carry not only a student’s lifetime of notes, but rich media references, assignments, presentations and portfolios – not to mention a vast personal library of songs, audiobooks, photos and movies.

iPods are emerging as a popular device at universities across the globe as lecturers realise their messages can reach the masses of students who skip classes, and students realise they can use what used to be ‘dead time’ (such as sitting on a bus) more productively.

And iPod learning need not be confined to traditional educational institutions.  Baby Boomers are downloading language lessons to brush up on their French and Italian before taking their grand tours through Europe, for example.

There is huge potential for students and educators alike if educational organisations harness this emerging technology.  Today’s students are already ‘digital natives’ and we must find ways to engage students in learning, ensure that their educational experiences are relevant to Australia’s prevailing knowledge economy and to their lives outside the classroom.

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Chief blogging officer?

Today, 11 percent of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs, according to SocialText, but only a handful have a designated chief blogger.

This will certainly change, as more companies embrace the power of social media.

March 2008 marked an inflexion point in Australia. It was the month that people spent more time online than watching TV.

According to AC Nielson, Australians on average spend 13.7 hours online and only 13.3 hours watching TV.  As the eyeballs move from TV screen to PC screen, this marks a change in the way we connect with people within our existing circle of friends and, more importantly, our ability to access and interact with virtual acquaintances who have new ideas, opinions and knowledge that we can leverage in our jobs and our lives.

This is a brave new world and we are yet to understand the opportunities that might flow from digital interactions for organisations and individuals. My interest in Internet communities and how they interact goes back to the early 2000s, when I was at CSC working on global knowledge management communities.

There are many such global communities and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (where I have profiles), Linked In for professional exchanges and Second Life where I have purchased an island for the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and had my own avatar.

I’ve been an active blogger since 2006, at a time when just a handful of business leaders had blogs of any kinds.

While I don’t believe the concept of a ‘chief blogger’ is right for all brands, blogging can offer some companies real benefits: it can humanise a company (like Microsoft), provide transparency (like Dell) or promote a company as a great place to work (like Southwest Airlines).

My blog is my personal views on a range of topics related to talent – the attraction, retention and management and other issues which impact on how people make decisions around jobs, employers and lifestyle. 

More importantly, I am interested in generating discussion and participating in a community conversation about talent management.  So, if you have an idea to share, spark up a conversation.

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