Category Archives: Generations

Transcription time!

So we’re well into 2012 and I’ve been busy transcribing my interviews since before Christmas along with arranging the last phase of interview participants. Transcribing is a slow and laborious process. I’ve tried plenty of transcription software which managed to recognise words in the recordings (although often not the correct ones) but the real problem was that the words didn’t make any sense when put in sentences! Pretty useless really. It’s what you’d imagine using William Burroughs book writing software would look like. I could use a commercial transcription service to produce them for me but, apart for the fact that it costs money, I don’t think this is a good way of getting a rich understanding of the text. If you transcribe the interviews yourself it enables a greater understand of the themes that are developing within the data. It’s very time-consuming but necessary… I think.

On Monday I conducted an interview Peter Oakley who is well known for his YouTube channel geriatric 1927. He’s been broadcasting his thoughts through self-recorded online videos since 2006 and he regularly gets over 1600 hits for every video he posts. Pretty impressive. He’s a warm, easy-going and very approachable man who’s in the 9th decade of his life and still extremely alert and on the ball. It was a pleasure and a privilege to interview him. He gave me permission to mention him on this blog and to embed one of his videos.

After the interview we compared notes on our experiences of Art Foundation courses and going to Art College in different times and at different ages. Like Peter, my Art Foundation course was one of the most enjoyable and creative periods of my life. Anyway, here is Peter describing his thoughts and the experiences of his art education in one of his videos.

Application to Transfer Interview

Yesterday I had my application to transfer interview. The interview as one would expect was quite tough and a couple of the questions were difficult to answer. The interview started with a review of the parts of my research that worked well but as this was more concerned with critical aspects of the research these were not discussed.

Much was made of a need to be more explicit with my conceptual framework with my regards to my use of motivation within the research. However, the theory and concepts relating to creativity, generations and literacy were judged to be more clearly argued. About half an hour after the interview I was called to be told that the panel had recommended that I transfer to PhD status. This was more of a relief than an celebration.

However I did go out last night. I’d  already got tickets to see my favourite band, The Fall, (left) at the indigO2, a few months back.  This helped take my mind off the events of the interview, although I have slightly wooly head this morning!

Anyway now I can get back to progressing forward with my research without the worry of having to re-apply in the summer.

CAMRI Symposium

It has now become a internal part of being a PhD student that every now and again we have to present our progress and research findings. This takes the form of giving presentations at conferences as with Transforming Audiences 3 (TA3) in the summer and with this symposium that is hosted by University of Westminster each November. There’s doctoral representatives from other media based universities within the London area. The subjects within this field are very diverse within this discipline varying from digital games to the social networks in China.

My presentation went fairly well (below). It was very similar to the TA3 presentation. I had quite a few questions from the audience all constructive and none too difficult.

View more presentations from Tim Riley

OxIS 2011 Report

In the history of communication technology the Internet is a relatively new communication tool which has enabled the wide-spread adoption and use of Web 2.0 technologies over the last decade. The changing behaviour of users during this period has been the subject of many academic discussions and much qualitative and quantitative data has been produced in support of this. One such organisation is the Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) which has been producing data about the web bi-yearly since 2003. Yesterday OxIS released its 2011 report at the salubrious setting of the Strangers Dining Room in the House of Commons. I was lucky enough to be at the launch and heard many speeches about its findings. The report can be downloaded here.

The main focus of the report is the rise of what they call the ‘Next Generation Users’ in Britain defined as firstly, the increasing proportion of users who use portable devices to access the Internet and secondly, users who have and use multiple digital devices. Internet access via mobile devices has doubled from 24% in 2009 to 49% in 2011. The report states that “next generation users are not evenly distributed, but have higher incomes, indicating a new digital divide in Britain and most certainly in other nations”. It also indicates that “more than a quarter of the British population [is] without access to the Internet” (p.5).

On the subject of content production the report shows that “next generation users are more likely to be producers than are first generation users who focus more on consumption rather than production” (p.5) This is illustrated with an accompanying graph.

There is certainly useful data in this report relating to my research. Information gathered for the report shows the next generation of users are not solely made up of the youth of the digital age but are from all age groups although people of retirement age are less like to fit into this type of user. The age demographic of next generation of users is, therefore, “not simply a function of youth or age cohorts” (p.7) the report suggest.

Methodology chapter

I’ve just finished the first draft of my methodology chapter. It’s been another long stint typing, reading and referencing and, although I was fairly unsure how to approach this initially, it came together quite naturally once I got going.

I started with definitions of the social media, digital content creation and sharing before moving on to the methodological outline. This was followed by a in-depth study into the meaning and use of ‘generations’ and whether there is a ‘digital generation’. This developed into a discussion that starts with Karl Mannheim’s generational theory and Norman B. Ryder’s concept of ‘cohorts’ along with references from David Kertzer and Pierre Bourdieu.

There’s much discussion about the notion of a ‘digital generation’, a generation who’ve grown up in a digital world. This has be promoted widely by Marc Prensky, who pits digital natives against digital immigrants, and Don Tapscott who champions the ‘net generation’ against the ‘baby-boomers’ and ‘generation x’ and ‘television generation’.

However, as analysis of generations shows, this is a rather simplistic and polemical view as there are many variations between the experiences, perceptions, interpretations and attitudes within generations and also ignores similarities that occur between generational groups too. This is summed up well by David Buckingham who argues:

“To a greater or lesser extent, technological change affects us all, adults included. Yet the consequences of technology depends crucially on how we use technology and what we use it for, and these things are subjected to a considerable degree of social variation within age groups as between them” (Buckingham, 2006:11).

Siva Vaidhyanathan talks of a ‘generational myth‘. “Not all young people are tech-savvy [and] talk of a ‘digital generation’ or people who are ‘born digital’ wilfully ignores the vast range of skills, knowledge, and experience of many segments of society”. This analysis has established that my research will not be a generational study but a study of age groups.

The methodology chapter continues by giving a detailed explanation of my sampling and data collection methods and data analysis procedure. I created a website repository for participants to upload content after the interviews and this has also proved to be fairly successful.  Well over half the participants have uploaded content. The site can be viewed here.