[iDC] some thoughts on digital labor and populations

jeremy hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Mon Jun 8 17:11:55 UTC 2009

On Jun 8, 2009, at 12:58 PM, Anne Beffel wrote:

> I've noticed a huge shift in how my students at Syracuse University  
> relate to their worlds in social and physical terms, which I believe  
> impact what they value, and ultimately shape the dominant cultural  
> values. Namely, they are constantly checking facebook other social  
> networking sites to remain "connected" and feel validated. Many of  
> them talk about it as an addiction.

I see some students doing this, but not that many.  I see students in  
many more social settings than I see them in classrooms these days  
though.  I'm usually the only one with my mobile device going full  
bore in most social settings.

I suspect there may be a different kind of student or different  
population of student from the last two schools I've taught which was  
a library school in nyc and UIC.  Both of those sets of students were  
very grounded in everyday life and less into media.  I suppose some  
where, the 10-12 out of the 250 or so that became my facebook friends,  
etc.   But this makes me wary of universalizing the experiences,  
conventions, or categories of our shared existences.   It might be  
thus a more of a local shift, or a generational shift, I'm not sure,  
might be your students, or it could be all students, but i've not  
experienced it yet.

> Cultural shifts are hard to define, but the majority of my students'  
> appreciation for being present in the moment without some kind of  
> technological interface has definitely decreased. With this decrease  
> in appreciation comes a decrease in the ability to consciously place  
> their attention on anything for a sustained amount of time without  
> checking their technological interfaces.

I wonder there what you mean by being present in the moment and having  
an appreciation of it.  Because if you talk to me, and I find if you  
talk to most professors and graduate students, we frequently move off  
into our own thoughts in perhaps similar, if less technologically  
enhanced ways.    I see people doing this in all kinds of ways all the  
time, sometimes it is checking their watch, some people it is reading  
what they've been writing on legal pads.  Perhaps the construction of  
shared mediation is different, but then i wonder about things like...  
faculty meetings and perhaps they were constructed to do the same  
sorts of things, same 'labors'.  Though that likely varies also  
amongst populations.

> -Anne Beffel
> Associate Professor of Art
> Time Arts/ Foundation
> Syracuse University
> On Jun 8, 2009, at 12:25 PM, jeremy hunsinger wrote:

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