Friday, November 14, 2008

Tapscott Strikes Again

Don Tapscott who was largely responsible for starting the "net gen" hype back in 1998 with the release of his book, Growing Up Digital, has followed that up with Grown-Up Digital. I haven't read this book but I did give my assessment of Growing Up Digital in an earlier posting. Judging by the jacket cover hype for this new work, the techno-utopic viewpoint is much the same:

"Grown Up Digital reveals:.

  • How the brain of the Net Generation processes information .
  • Seven ways to attract and engage young talent in the workforce.
  • Seven guidelines for educators to tap the Net Gen potential.
  • Parenting 2.0: There's no place like the new home .
  • Citizen Net: How young people and the Internet are transforming democracy.

Today's young people are using technology in ways you could never imagine. Instead of passively watching television, the Net Geners are actively participating in the distribution of entertainment and information. For the first time in history, youth are the authorities on something really important. And they're changing every aspect of our society-from the workplace to the marketplace, from the classroom to the living room, from the voting booth to the Oval Office."

This book is based on a $4 million private research study that involved a survey of over 11,000 young people so one hopes it is more credible than the first book but it's hard to take a publication seriously when the hype is so over the top and at odds with the other research that has been done on this topic.

1 comment:

Tony V. said...

Although I realize that the term NetGen only speaks of a subset of a vaguely defined generational demographic, I believe that it is nonetheless a reality in need of further study. When one hears the term netgen, one immediately envisions an enclave of modern Linuses with their digital Security Blankets in tow. This is the segment of a generation that has grown up under the supervision of electronic babysitters and simply cannot let go. We see these people all over lately - in airports, at the DMV, at the filling station, or simply on the busstop. Armed with a bluetooth on each ear and a textpad in each hand, these smiling types strut about with boundless poise and confidence just as long as they are engaged in their art of social networking or electronic gamesmanship. But, when someone comes along and kindly tells them to unplug, they become completely disoriented. They stand fidgeting and quivering with a look of panic on their faces. Quite often, they simply cannot take it and run for the exits with fingers on keypad and the cries of terror on their lips. (recall those Paris Hilton courthouse moments...)

Today's professional football player is lost without his bluetoothed helmet - ditto the footsoldier on the battlefield.
Driving under the influence has been replaced by driving while texting and the cellphone-induced accident rates are escalating rapidly.

Is this all a good thing? Is this really leading to improvement? Is this something that academia should be encouraging and empowering?