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.