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“Youth, Privacy and Reputation” – Literature Review

   The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share our Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative’s newest resource, an extensive literature review mapping out “what is currently understood about the intersections of youth, reputation, and privacy online, focusing on youth attitudes and practices”:

 

Youth Privacy Reputation Literary Review

 

From the introduction: “We summarize both key empirical studies from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and the legal issues involved in regulating privacy and reputation. This project includes studies of children, teenagers, and younger college students.” The review was authored by Alice E. Marwick, Diego Murgia Diaz, and John Palfrey. It provides a substantial foundation for researchers and others engaged with questions and issues around youth and privacy online, as well as a foundation for the ongoing activities of the Working Group Initiative’s Privacy, Publicity and Reputation research area.

 

The Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative aims to bring the best research on youth and media into policy-making debates and to propose practical, relevant, situated solutions based upon that research. Literature reviews are also being produced for the Initiative’s other two research areas: Risky Behaviors and Online Safety; and Youth Created Content and Information Quality. We look forward to sharing these and other resources and reports from the Initiative as they become available.

Work with an effective youth-based Internet safety program? The Youth and Media Policy group wants to know about it!

The Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track of Harvard University Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative is creating a Compendium of youth-based Internet safety programs and interventions. We are requesting organizations, institutions, and individuals working in online youth safety to share descriptions of their effective programs and interventions that address risky behavior by youth online. We are particularly interested in endeavors that involve educators, social services, mentors and coaches, youth workers, religious leaders, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and those working in the field of public or adolescent health.

Program descriptions will be made publicly available. Exemplary programs will be spotlighted to policy makers, educators, and the public so that they too can learn about different approaches being tried and tested. Submissions also will be used to inform recommendations for future research and program opportunities.

Minds for the Future: Why Digital Immersion Matters

If we hope to head towards a bright future in the digital age, then,
it begins with preparing Digital Natives and other young kids to help lead the way
.”

To be sure, the term “Digital Native” is misleading, because no two Digital Natives are created equal. Each of them has varying degrees of access to digital technologies, literacy skills, and participation within their peer culture. What’s more alarming is the “divide” opening up between those that have access to the network and those without. But that in itself isn’t the whole problem, because having access alone isn’t the solution. While access speaks of the stark contrast amongst the haves and have-nots, digital literacy reveals the difference in those who have the skills to navigate this new landscape and those that don’t.

Like many other crucial skills, digital literacy needs to be taught and learned through constant practice. Naturally, this doesn’t explain why some Digital Natives will get more out of their sessions than others do. But what about those who get much more practice? Its estimated by Professor Urs Gasser that for kids who turn fifteen in 2016 or so, “they are likely to spend somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 hours per year on digital technologies.” Going onto say that, “Five years later, at age twenty, they will have accumulated at least 10,000 hours as active users of the Internet, if the current statistics still apply.”

“For these Digital Natives it will only have taken them five years.”

This amount of time, in turn, is equivalent to what Malcolm Gladwell argued to be the magic number for true expertise in Outliers. Whether you take into consideration world-class violinists, concert pianists, chess grandmasters, star athletes, Bill Gates, the Beatles, and what have you, 10,000 hours appears again and again. “It seems,” neurologist Daniel Levitin writes, “that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.” Ten years, Gladwell says, is roughly how long it takes to put in 10,000 hours of hard practice. For these Digital Natives it will only have taken them five years.

Will every single one of these Digital Natives grow up to be top-notch experts? Of course not. “But in fact,” Gladwell writes, “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways that others cannot.” For those who are given the chance to put in those hours and have the presence of mind to seize it, undoubtedly they will become masters of digital technologies. But mastering the “use” of digital technologies isn’t enough, because they must understand the “role” it plays in their lives too.

2. Creative Destruction

From the perspective of media scholar Henry Jenkins, “Educators must work together to ensure that every American young person has access to the skills and experiences needed to become a full participant, can articulate their understanding of how media shapes perceptions, and has been socialized into the emerging ethical standards that should shape their practices as media makers and participants in online communities.” So, as we can see, the digital dilemma is two-fold. On one hand, we must make smart choices and offer services that are more in step with the emerging social norms of Digital Natives.

On the other, we need to prepare Digital Natives and other young people to become active participants in these participatory cultures. Both are required if we hope to head toward a bright future in the digital age. These sorts of Digital Natives have the potential to remake the culture of business in which many industries will all be operating in the future. Instead of accepting the marketplace in which most commerce takes place today as “a pre-existing condition of the universe,” they may recognize the need to adjust the operating system to the needs of our society, where previous generations did the opposite.

“their creative destruction will begin to look more constructive than it does today.”

By means of creative destruction, a term coined by the late economist Joseph Schumpeter, who, “described capitalism as a process of incessantly destroying the old structure and creating a new one,” those born digital will transform businesses and cause disruption in the short term. “This disruption stems in part from their use of technology and their shifting relationship with information,” Law Professors John Palfrey and Urs Gasser explain. “Over time, though, their creative destruction will begin to look more constructive than it does today.” In due time, they will revitalize the industries that they challenge.

Such is the case with file-sharing. While it may destroy the value of record companies now, its entry into the market sparked the development of a whole new social ecology of music culture. One which, despite its many current faults, could be the force that brings sustained long-term economic growth to those who prevail. “This process is not new; this kind of creative destruction has repeated itself throughout history in the wake of disruptive technologies,” they continue. “What’s different here is that Digital Natives can cause this creative destruction on their own, without pausing to worry about the implications.”

As young entrepreneurs, if they have a big idea, they can implement it. Without the need to ask for permission, they can innovate and do so on their own terms. “And the revolution in information technologies is enabling them to carry out this destruction to occur at a shockingly rapid pace, in markets that span the globe,” they conclude. “Innovation,” William Patry further argues, “the root cause of creative destruction—is thus the way capitalism survives on its own inherent tendency toward monopolization and stagnation, even as innovation is regarded as an existential threat to those who benefit from the status quo.”

3. 10,000 Hours

What then will the Digital Natives who happen to be at the highest end of the participation gap make of this combination of ability, opportunity, and utterly arbitrary advantage that has been bestowed upon them? We don’t know. Will the story of those who succeed in the 21st century be about those, “who were given a special opportunity to work really hard and seized it, and who happened to come of age at a time when extraordinary effort was rewarded by the rest of society?” Only time will tell us. Still, there’s more to it then providing access to the technology, teaching digital literacy, and encouraging active participation.

“Equally as important as this task before us lies within us the ability…”

Cultivation of what Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner calls the Five Minds for the Future is a must. These “minds” are what he describes as the disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical. To which he says, “We should be concerned with how to nurture these minds in the younger generation, those who are being educated currently to become the leaders of tomorrow.” Equally as important as this task before us lies within us the ability to not let tomorrow turn into another day. Much time has already been wasted in trying to ensure that future looks exactly like the present, when in fact it is not.

“We acknowledge the factors of globalization—at least when they are called to our attention—but have not figured out how to prepare youngsters so that they can survive and thrive in a world different from one ever known or even imagined before,” Gardner writes. Why is that? Nassim Taleb contends in The Black Swan, “Our human race is affected by a chronic underestimation of the possibility of the future straying from the course initially envisioned.” People often disregard, he explains, that “to understand the future to the point of being able to predict it, you need to incorporate elements from this future itself.”

Moving forward, it’s critical that we not only focus on providing those with extraordinary talent, with extraordinary opportunities, but that we realize it’s within the best interest of all industries, all people, to help prepare those who are less fortunate. “The sense of possibility so necessary for success comes not just from inside us or from our parents,” Gladwell enlightens. “It comes from our time: from the particular opportunities that our place in history presents us with.” Think about it. In 2021, at the age of twenty, these Digital Natives will have put in 10,000 hours on the Internet, not Facebook or Twitter, the Internet.

References:

  • 1.2 John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, Born Digital
  • 1.3 Daniel Levitin, This Is Your Brain On Music
  • 1.4 Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
  • 2.1 Henry Jenkins, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture
  • 2.2 Douglas Rushkoff, Economics Is Not a Natural Science
  • 2.3 Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics
  • 2.5 William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
  • 3.1 Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

Additional Reading:

First posted on: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2009/10/m…

My Parents Joined Facebook: Personalized Clubhouses and Divergent Social Norms Online

Black text on a white background reads “Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook.” Below, in all caps: “Congratulations! Your parents just joined Facebook. Your life is officially over.” The site is myparentsjoinedfacebook.com, a collaborative portfolio of social doom. In the grand instatradition of thematic tumblelogs (see: ThisIsWhyYou’reFat, Scanwiches), MyParentsJoinedFacebook isn’t so much website as permutations on a sentiment. Every new screengrab conveys chagrin, disdain, and bewilderment at the impressive range of collisions between the incongruous ways digital natives and adults use Facebook.

But really, it’s not about Facebook. It’s about an exclusive clubhouse becoming something else. The interactions documented on MyParentsJoinedFacebook are comical because the parents so clearly don’t get the implicit social ruleset that Facebook’s original target audience of young people takes for granted. But the comedy also serves to delineate young people as insiders and adults as outsiders to the world of Facebook. MyParentsJoinedFacebook reserves special scorn, in fact, for outsiders who try and fail to gain inside knowledge. A screengrab from a site called Facebook for Parents is captioned “This site doesn’t get it ;) “. “Getting it,” of course, is the last thing that the voice of the site wants parents to do—for one thing, their material would dry up instantly!

The appeal of Facebook is that “everyone’s” on it; for many, the site becomes a utility instead of a destination. (Many of my friends, for instance, use it as a glorified cell phone directory rather than a site of major activity.) But “everyone” being on it creates pitfalls, as well. Adults, whose newsfeeds are populated by the status updates and freshly-posted photographs of close friends, distant acquaintances, and long-lost high school classmates, learn “how to use Facebook” by seeing how others in their peer group use it. If a young person or adult takes a chance on “friending” someone from a different peer group, culture clash is almost inevitable. The way that person uses Facebook seems like the exception rather than the norm, because norms are calibrated to peer groups that exist on the real-world social graph.

That Facebook could sustain multiple cultures at once seems, at first, curious. But Facebook has always been grounded in the real-world social graph. From the example of our peers, we learn how to navigate the world. The issue with Facebook is that it’s an enormous world masquerading as a clubhouse. For each individual user, the space feels like a clubhouse: full of your friends, absent your enemies. In reality, though, all of these personalized clubhouses are just different configurations of data. They’re not walled off from each other at all. So adults can be on Facebook and it feels like their place—after all, it’s populated by all the people they know!—and young people can be on it and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s theirs.

Today, while writing this post, danah boyd posted an article that asks, “is Facebook for old people?” Using her field research among teenagers in Atlanta as a starting point, danah explores the possibility that the success or failure of interactions between adults and young people on Facebook might depend on socioeconomic status. “One argument made about the differences between teens from wealthy and poor environments,” she writes, “is that wealthy teens are much more likely to integrate with adults than teens from poorer backgrounds.”

The problem with adults being on Facebook is that, in the real world, they’re the rule enforcers. They determine the rulesets that matter. Not for coolness; for survival, approval, advancement. When adults “get on Facebook” and proceed to treat it like their own personal clubhouse, interactions between adults and young people often falter. In a previous post, danah answers a number of questions about how to navigate that faltering space. But the reason it’s a difficult space at all is because on Facebook, everybody’s an insider in their own personal configuration of the social world; anyone who deviates too drastically from the norms of that personalized world emerges as an outsider. In comparing divergent rulesets for social interaction online, we can learn a great deal about what the real world might look like if everyone did have a personalized clubhouse. It might not be a world we’d like to live in, but online, it’s increasingly one we spend a great deal of time in.

The Future of Digital Natives Dialogue

A couple weeks ago, I participated (read: lurked) in a project called FOCUS: Cross-Generational Voices on Digital Media and Society, sponsored by Global Kids, Common Sense Media, and The GoodPlay Project. Having evolved from previous years’ FOCUS projects aimed to create dialogue between teenagers about their online experiences (a white paper report of last year’s activities can be read here), the project aimed this year to foster discussion between teens, parents, and educators on a multitude of topics related to social interactions on the Web. The discussion took place on FOCUS’s message boards and lasted a few weeks.

As you can see from the screen grab to the left, topics ranged from debates about the generation gap to personal relationships to law, and the discussions were started by teens and adults alike. The questions and answers appeared to encompass a similar level of understanding and experience: a bit cautious in approaching online safety, a bit daring in critiquing infrastructure, a bit conscious in debating issues of privacy, sexuality, and identity. The conversations suggested that nobody really has the answers — just as “the meaning of life” remains nebulous in the real world, so is our comprehension of living online — but we want to understand as much as we can. Digital Natives the book set out to inform parents about “those things” with which their children are experimenting everyday on the Internet; however, both the older and younger generations writing on the discussion boards appeared equally educated, skeptical, and curious about similar matters.

The initial set of discussion threads in the first group were sown by only teenagers, and perhaps this was meant to mirror the former year’s discussion. Eventually, users with the labels “parent” and “educator” showed up on the boards. From the conversations that I examined, though, it seemed that more members of the younger generation were speaking up and debating.

I am glad this is the case. When Diana and I spoke at South by Southwest in March (Diana’s previous posts on the issue: 1, 2, and 3), we presented knowing that we were only a few of the Digital Native generation that had attempted to study ourselves, to make an impact in the domain of Internet studies from a different, younger perspective. Most kids, teenagers, and young adults today use the Internet for quotidian tasks, making purchases and fulfilling social habits. Only a handful of students, though, have stepped up to create a dialogue about where they stand in terms of the future of the Internet. When I chose to moderate a panel about a student perspective on technology and education, I wanted to bring that new perspective to the table. I feel that these FOCUS dialogues too are the building blocks for more of the younger generation to make advancements towards becoming researchers and heralds for a new side to Internet and social research. At the same time, the cross-generational conversations of this year’s FOCUS project confirm that parents are beginning to understand life on the Web and that children who grew up in the digital space are losing the ability to exploit their knowledge as an advantage over parents and other adults.

But what’s the next step? To where will the Digital Natives project proceed?

For one, Urs Gasser has already begun to focus on Digital Natives in the workplace, as Diana wrote about before. I am interested to see how Digital Natives will affect the academic realm as well. Since I attended Berkman@10 last year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), I have also traveled to a number of other conventions at which the company of fellow Digital Natives remained minute. As Digital Natives enter the workforce to become teachers and professors, we will probably see an increase in the use of technology (as teachers who were early adopters have already done) on a wider scale, but I hope that greater focus across all disciplines will provide significant depth into related Internet studies.

For the moment, the FOCUS project of 2009 is already proving that our book, Born Digital, archived a moment in time when parents and other adults needed a resource to understand the online habits of my generation. In a way, it’s reassuring that everyone is understanding online habits without proclaiming them an exotic phenomenon.

Living and Dying on Geocities

Recently, Geocities announced that they would be shutting down their services later in 2009. In my history on the Web (I’m graduating college this May, if that provides perspective), this is a significant event for Digital Natives.

At least, for the older Digital Natives. Growing up on the Internet in middle school, many of my peers had little if any digital skills. I was lucky enough to grow up with a Macintosh in my house, so I was introduced to programs like kid-targeted graphic tools (in my case, it was Kid Pix, the Photoshop for primary school students) from an early stage. Eventually, I was helping my father navigate financial programs, until we bought a 56k modem while I was in middle school, putting me on the Web through AOL. Most of my time was spent on instant messengers (specifically, AIM) speaking to friends or in AOL chat rooms speaking to strangers (but in fervent discussions about daily minutiae). However, at school, my friends and my homeroom teacher together would browse websites during our morning free period, sharing things that we probably had found in the mailing lists piled up in our inboxes (such as the epic and wonderfully celebrated Hamster Dance).

That sharing introduced me to website creation tools. A couple of my friends had already made their own webpages, and the idea intrigued me to such an extent that I had to copy them. A few of my friends had free webpages hosted by Geocities; because I owned a Mac, and the Geocities software didn’t work on my operating system, I had to settle for Homestead.com‘s services. The key for us middle-schoolers, though, was that we could click a button and suddenly own a webpage, for free. For kids without credits cards, free web services provided the first step toward something other than only consuming information on the Web. My first page attempted to chronicle every possible emoticon I could imagine; ultimately, I failed, but it was a starting point that would propel me to own a number of domains (eg., alexleavitt.com, my personal website, or Department of Alchemy, my blog) today.

The importance of websites like Geocities, though, was that it provided Digital Natives — like me — with an outlet for creative expression. I had no Internet skills at that age beyond the ability to use a chat client and browse the Web, so domains, hosting, and even basic coding were initially foreign to me. Still, it’s not that these services provided the outlet; it’s more that Geocities, Homestead, Tripod and many others provided a system for creation. That system had two sides: on one hand, it provided knowledgeable kids with enough space to code a few webpages with basic HTML; on the other hand, if the user wasn’t acquainted with code, a simple and easy-to-use navigator let him or her move around a few objects and text to throw together a page. I had not learned to code until joining Neopets in 2001, through which I taught myself HTML to update my user profile and other personal pages on the site. Once I developed a knowledge of basic Web code, I brought that over to the free webpage services. Copying and pasting existing website’s code into new HTML documents, I tweaked and edited them into my own styles, out of which I continued to build a collection of websites. I’ve tried to find the first webpage I ever created, but it seems that Homestead also threw out its collection of free pages; however, I was able to stumble upon a Geocities website I created at the beginning of high school.

I’ve heard a lot of people online — both adults and fellow Digital Natives — say that they don’t mind the demise of Geocities, because it will eradicate a number of long-forgotten webpages (aka. potential embarrassment). But particularly for Digital Natives around my age, Geocities is one of a number of web services with which we grew up and into which we poured our time. But many new services have come to replace Geocities and similar services. For instance, it’s common for a kid online today to own a blog, probably provided by a free service like WordPress or Tumblr. In the same vein, most younger users of the web maintain presences on Facebook, MySpace, and other websites that specifically foster communities.

My thought, then, is what kind of digital literacy younger Digital Natives possess nowadays. I had to teach myself HTML; perhaps more kids in the past year have been using Dreamweaver. It might even be more possible that kids see HTML as a prerequisite to living on the Web. A number of teens probably don’t even care about webpages, instead focusing on Facebook and similar services, where page customization depends on no previous knowledge of code. There are clear positives and negatives to how the Internet has evolved: less creation in some places, more opportunities for creativity in others (such as YouTube, where a kid can easily record a video on software and the webcam provided on his or her computer and then simply upload the video by making a few clicks). The benefits, of course, have been that services and software have developed quickly, and the diversity of free programs available for modern Digital Natives provides them with much more occasion to think and create.

Urs Gasser at CSN Conference in Amsterdam

Cross-posted from the CSN Blog

Today’s kids can’t imagine a life without Google or Wikipedia. These young people are already starting to enter the work force. What happens when Enterprise 2.0 meets Born Digital?

I’ll be speaking at the CSN Conference about a generation growing up online: what sets them apart, and what this means for employers.

Digital Natives have grown up in a digital world. They relate to information and to others in new and different ways. They manage multiple online identities; they share photos, music, and personal information daily; and they create and collaborate in new ways. As Digital Natives enter the workforce, they bring with them their norms of sharing, collaboration and information processing. These norms differ significantly from the workings of traditional corporate environments. How do we prepare for the integration of a new generation into the workforce? How can we harness the potential of new ways of working that those Born Digital bring to the table, while addressing the challenges posed by the more problematic habits young people may have established?

Based on a combination of research findings and experiences from practice, the presentation will dive in and discuss three main questions:

-What are the risks and opportunities are associated with the new information disclosure and sharing practices of Digital Natives?
-What is the impact of Digital Natives’ experience with peer collaboration and community building once they enter a corporate environment?
-How shall employers and co-workers think about and deal with the distinct ways in which Digital Natives — process and organize information?
-Companies that will work to integrate the new generation will benefit immensely – but a strategic approach and specific outreach to this new workforce is a necessity.

See you at the CSN Conference!

Availability and Obligation: Using Technology the Right Way

Busted! The sneaky moves of anti-social smartphone user,” seemed sensational even for the usually grandiose titles of TEDTalks, but I found myself nodding to Renny Gleeson’s every word. If you haven’t watched this video yet, I highly recommend it. At only three minutes, it’s shorter than the usually TED video but just as packed with wit and insight.

Gleeson’s talk is a humorous look at the intruding presence of cell phones in our everyday lives. Although he doesn’t explicitly separate these out, he addresses two different phenomena, both mediated by that cellphone on your pocket: the documentation impulse and culture of availability.

The documentation impulse is our urge to document, via photograph, tweet, etc., the large and small events of our lives. The camera or the cellphone (or cellphone camera) becomes an intrusion into the actual course of events; as Gleeson puts it, it indicates that “Our reality is less interesting than the story I will tell.” The culture of availability reflects our tendency to attend to our buzzing cellphones, even at the expense of our real life conversations. It’s rude, yet , I think many of us are guilty of it. So the culture of availability has a flip side too, and that is the culture of unavailability.

My most salient experience of this is sitting in a classroom the few awkward minutes before class starts. Small talk could break the silence, almost everyone in the class will be hiding behind a laptop gchatting a digital friend or hunched over a cellphone punching in letters. Even the simple act of asking a classmate about an assignment feels like an intrusion into someone else’s space. As someone guilty of the laptop/cellphone stunt as well, I don’t think we mean to remove ourselves from our surroundings – at least that is not my intention – but it is rather a way to avoid the awkward silence.

Gleeson ends his talk with a plea to the audience, “Let’s make technologies that make people more human, not less.” This alls sounded great in the context of his snazzy presentation but as I mulled over Gleeson’s words afterwards, I’m still not exactly what he means or expects out of technology. How does anything we create that is mediated by wires and microchips make us more human? According to Gleeson, tied up with the idea of being human seems to be the creation of a shared narrative, not just sharing narratives but actually creating them with one another.

To characterize phone users as “anti-social,” as the attention-grabbing title of this talk does, is a little misleading. The vast majority of the time we’re on our phones, we are being social, just with the voice on the other end of the receiver rather than with our surroundings. While it is different kind of socialization, it is not solipsistic. And we when take our photos, say at an Improv Everywhere stunt, and pool them in a Flickr group, that is a creation of shared narrative. The cellphone is not all bad, and it is probably not fair to say that technology has failed at allowing us to be human.

As I mused about Gleeson’s pleas for more humanizing technology, I didn’t come to an answer, but rather another question: Is it really technology itself that is the problem? The problem of our divided attention does not lie in the fact that we all have cellphones, but rather in how we use them. While having a cellphone has undeniably gotten me out of trouble more times than I can count, I have never needed it by my side 24/7. Each one of our cellphones, not matter how ancient or new, has a very simple but powerful button: OFF.

Born Digital Goes to College

This week, we got some pretty exciting news: turns out Kevin Guidry, a PhD student and teacher at Indiana University, is using Born Digital as a major text in his undergraduate class on Online Identity!

This is exciting for a couple of reasons. First, it’s always a rush to hear that people are actually reading a book you helped to coax along. (I presume it’s even more of a rush when you actually wrote the whole thing! Here’s looking at you, John and Urs.) Books, awkward physical objects that they are, do tend to take on a life of their own. Seeing Born Digital come to life in such an admirable, unpredictable environment is a delight and an honor.

Second, Kevin has already entered the new millenium of teaching and learning for which Born Digital so ardently advocates. Kevin linked us to the blog posts he’s writing on his teaching process in the half-semester course on “Online Identity,” and I spent solid minutes transfixed by his descriptions of the classroom, obstacles, student responses, and opportunities. Rather than provide dry lectures, Kevin structures his classes as a series of small-group conversations, all contributing to a whole. Though using the book’s principles to teach the book’s principles may seem recursive, I think it is a fiercely intelligent approach—and, soon, it may be a necessary one. Kevin’s iterative thought process rewards close reading.

Third, the Digital Natives team learned about Kevin’s class via an email he sent to John Palfrey. Out of the blue! Despite all of its shortcomings, the Internet has this one thing I will never stop loving: its ability to connect people and endeavors suddenly and without warning. Because Kevin took the time to write to John, the entire team behind the project now gets to see how Born Digital plays in the real world, observing its trajectory vicariously through Kevin’s classroom reports.

If you ever find yourself teaching Born Digital in a class, or reading it, or thinking further about the issues it addresses, we will always love to hear from you. In the comments, or by email: anytime. Serendipity, it turns out, almost always comes from out of the blue.

Thank you for the note, Kevin, and we look forward to more dispatches from the classroom of tomorrow!