O livro de Danah Boyd, "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens", teve grande impacto quando saiu. Na altura marquei-o para ler, mas fui adiando porque do que fui lendo, dizia pouco que me surpreende-se. Agora que o li, e continuando a dizer que não traz nada novo, se visto como livro de divulgação de ciência, acho que traz algo novo, mas mais importante que isso, algo imensamente relevante para a sociedade geral. O discurso sobre as tecnologias e os adolescentes nos media e numa grande parte da cultura que se vai produzindo está completamente desfasado da realidade.
Aliás esse desfasamento é tão grande que se alguém parasse para tentar lê-lo com sentido, veria a sua esquizofrenia, já que por um lado diz que os adolescente são muito precoces com as tecnologias, mas por outro lado são muito ingénuos com a sua privacidade e com os perigos que correm. E é exatamente este discurso feito de mitos que Dana Boyd desmonta ao longo de todo o livro. Boyd não é apenas uma professora universitária, fechada na redoma da academia, o facto de trabalhar numa das mais relevantes empresas de tecnologia, a Microsoft, como investigadora social principal, dá-lhe uma experiência ímpar ao juntar os dois lados: a academia e suas metodologias; e a indústria e suas tecnologias. Boyd conhece os adolescentes, porque os estudou de modo metódico ao longo de anos, mas conhece também todas as tecnologias que esses adolescentes usam, por dentro.
A metodologia seguida por Boyd:
“To get at teens’ practices, I crisscrossed the United States from 2005 to 2012, talking with and observing teens from eighteen states and a wide array of socioeconomic and ethnic communities. I spent countless hours observing teens through the traces they left online via social network sites, blogs, and other genres of social media. I hung out with teens in physical spaces like schools, public parks, malls, churches, and fast food restaurants.O que nos diz Boyd sobre os Nativos Digitais
To dive deeper into particular issues, I conducted 166 formal, semistructured interviews with teens during the period 2007–2010.2 I interviewed teens in their homes, at school, and in various public settings. In addition, I talked with parents, teachers, librarians, youth ministers, and others who worked directly with youth. I became an expert on youth culture. In addition, my technical background and experience working with and for technology companies building social media tools gave me firsthand knowledge about how social media was designed, implemented, and introduced to the public. ”
“As sociologist Eszter Hargittai has quipped, many “teens are more likely to be digital naives than digital natives.” Eszter Hargittai
“Media narratives often suggest that kids today — those who have grown up with digital technology — are equipped with marvelous new superpowers. Their multitasking skills supposedly astound adults almost as much as their three thousand text messages per month. Meanwhile, the same breathless media reports also warn the public that these kids are vulnerable to unprecedented new dangers: sexual predators, cyberbullying, and myriad forms of intellectual and moral decline, including internet addiction, shrinking attentions spans, decreased literacy, reckless over-sharing, and so on. As with most fears, these anxieties are not without precedent even if they are often overblown and misconstrued. The key to understanding how youth navigate social media is to step away from the headlines—both good and bad—and dive into the more nuanced realities of young people.”E sobre a Identidade e os “contextos colapsados”
“Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is quoted as having said, “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
“Even when teens have a coherent sense of what they deem to be appropriate in a particular setting, their friends and peers do not necessarily share their sense of decorum and norms.”
“What makes this especially tricky for teens is that people who hold power over them often believe that they have the right to look, judge, and share, even when their interpretations may be constructed wholly out of context.”
“A context collapse occurs when people are forced to grapple simultaneously with otherwise unrelated social contexts that are rooted in different norms and seemingly demand different social responses. For example, some people might find it quite awkward to run into their former high school teacher while drinking with their friends at a bar. These context collapses happen much more frequently in networked publics.”E ainda sobre privacidade:
“In Iowa, I ended up casually chatting with a teen girl who was working through her sexuality. She had found a community of other queer girls in a chatroom, and even though she believed that some of them weren’t who they said they were, she found their anonymous advice to be helpful. They gave her pointers to useful websites about coming out, offered stories from their own experiences, and gave her the number of an LGBT-oriented hotline if she ran into any difficulty coming out to her conservative parents. Although she relished the support and validation these strangers gave her, she wasn’t ready to come out yet, and she was petrified that her parents might come across her online chats. She was also concerned that some of her friends from school might find out and tell her parents. She had learned that her computer recorded her browser history in middle school when her parents had used her digital traces to punish her for visiting inappropriate sites. Thus, she carefully erased her history after each visit to the chatroom. She didn’t understand how Facebook seemed to follow her around the web, but she was afraid that somehow the company would find out and post the sites she visited to her Facebook page. In an attempt to deal with this, she used Internet Explorer to visit the chatroom or anything that was LGBT-related while turning to the Chrome browser for maintaining her straight, school-friendly persona. But still, she was afraid that she’d mess up and collapse her different social contexts, accidentally coming out before she was ready. She wanted to maintain discrete contexts but found it extraordinarily difficult to do so. This tension comes up over and over again, particularly with youth who are struggling to make sense of who they are and how they fit into the broader world.”
“Just because teenagers use internet sites to connect to other people doesn’t mean they don’t care about their privacy. We don’t tell everybody every single thing about our lives.... So to go ahead and say that teenagers don’t like privacy is pretty ignorant and inconsiderate honestly, I believe, on the adults’ part.”Deixo também algumas conclusões gerais que me parecem sintetizar muito bem todo o espírito do livro:
“It is easy to make technology the target of our hopes and anxieties. Newness makes it the perfect punching bag. But one of the hardest—and yet most important—things we as a society must think about in the face of technological change is what has really changed, and what has not (..) “It is much harder to examine broad systemic changes with a critical lens and to place them in historical context than to focus on what is new and disruptive.”
“teens are as they have always been, resilient and creative in repurposing technology to fulfill their desires and goals. When they embrace technology, they are imagining new possibilities, asserting control over their lives, and finding ways to be a part of public life. This can be terrifying for those who are intimidated by youth or nervous for them, but it also reveals that, far from being a distraction, social media is providing a vehicle for teens to take ownership over their lives.”
O livro está editado em Portugal pela Relógio d’Agua sob o título “É Complicado. As Vidas Sociais dos Adolescentes em Rede” (2015).