Oops there goes the thread RE: [Air-l] Re: first post (An Internet Withou...

Frank Schaap architext at fragment.nl
Wed Feb 18 02:24:38 PST 2004

Steffasong at aol.com wrote:
> As you can see from the sig file, I am from the States.  Most of my students 
> are not internationals.  What do you think is the reason for their lack of 
> Internet savvy?  

Well, there are a couple of things happening as far as I've been able to get 
them to talk about it. Unlike Eero's kids (in another message), my students 
have had access to computers and the Internet for the past 5 to 8 years. 
Most of them at school, with little restrictions, and a fair lot of them at 
home too.

The main thing is that they're not really interested in the internet as a 
medium, just like they don't care much for tv as a medium. It's all about if 
"what's on" is interesting.

Also, if it doesn't come ready to use with Windows, few people will bother 
to download software for it to check it out. Unless it's interesting, like 
downloading music. So, they use Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger. Of 
course, Outlook (Express) will let you subscribe to newsgroups, but no one 
uses Outlook, because everybody only uses Hotmail.

There could be a nice paper here about "nomadic" use of the net by students, 
who use the net mostly in computer rooms and at their parents place. They 
have a cellphone and because almost all universities in the Netherlands 
_don't_ have a campus, students live in privately rented rooms and shared 
apartments throughout town, often forgoing a landline or ADSL/cable to save 
money. If it doesn't work on the computers (ie Windows + IE) they have 
access to, then they don't use it.

I think what we're seeing here is typical use by a generation who grew up 
with computers and the internet present by default. They're not interested 
in the internet _an sich_, as most people on this list I imagine. They're 
not very interested in computers and the internet as a technology, as many 
of the tech-savvy "old school" users were/are. They're pretty much putting 
it to practical use: interacting with the school/university website, 
searching/surfing a bit for information and entertainment, joining the odd 
forum, e-mailing, and chatting with friends. Maybe it's time to recognize 
that this is typical use and that what came before really was atypical, 
tech-savvy, avant garde use of the specific technology/medium that is the 


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