Digital technology supporting young people
On behalf on the Nominet Trust, we have been working on to explore key messages on how digital technologies can support young people to engage socially and economically with their communities. You can find the latest blog posts from the project here. From an initial online crowd sourcing process and a roundtable workshop at the RSA in April 2012, 10 key messages were drawn out.
This storify seeks to curate key online content on one of these messages - using real-life examples, linking to research and providing insights for action.
- Although young people might be using online social networks like Facebook all the time, the connections they have to inspiration, role models and opportunities for volunteering, education or employment can be limited. Think about how digital tools can help you to map out networks, and to make new connections that broaden the horizons and increase the resources accessible to young people.
Thinking in networksWe're used to thinking in terms of organisations, individuals, hierarchies and formal relationships - but our world is increasingly shaped by, and can be understood through, the lens of 'networks'.
- The networks we are part of as individuals have a big impact on our lives, as an increasing community of researchers have explored. This is not about online social network sites - but about how looking at our connections with others can tell us about the opportunities and influences in our lives...
- JRF research has highlighted the importance of access positive social networks for young people in rural areas to get employment. Think about it in terms of having positive role models in your network, or having people who can provide you information, inspiration, encouragement and connections that help you find work. It is the 'social networks' of elites that maintain their elite positions.The RSA study and report Connected Communities found that unemployed respondents appeared to have smaller networks, and were likely to be on the periphery in network terms.
- Although social network thinking has been around from before the rise of digital networks - digital networks have an increasing impact on our world. Internet educator, Howard Rheingold (if you get the chance, why not spend an afternoon on Howard's free online mini-courses), outlines the need for Network Literacy in the clip below.
Digital social networksSo, thinking in networks is important. As is understanding the digital networks young people are part of.Over 80% of young people are using one or more social network sites and young people increasingly turning to the internet for communication, entertainment and information. They are also using it to meet new friends, share ideas, form groups, start organisations, learn new skills and earn a living.
- Social networking is a fast moving field. Whilst some of the stats below from 2008 hold up, you will see that the last four years have also seen some real shifts in young peoples choice of platform and tool.
- Although talk of social networks often become talk of Facebook, the XKCD cartoon below offers a view on the lanscape of social networking sites across the world: there is still more than one show in town, particularly for young people linked to diaspora communities.
Social network analysis.....is the analysis of social networks. Social network analysis views social relationships as a network diagram showing individuals and their connections or links such as such as friendship, organisational position, professional relationships or personal relationships.
- Here is a short clip (though a little academic at times) about social network analysis and how it is being used.
- For a good example of this in action, take a look at this video of Obama's social networking in picture form during the 2008 Presidential Election campaign.
Digital social networks as a tool to support young people?Giving young people the tools to map and understand their networks increases their access to education, volunteering, employment and fun. By empowering young people to understand the connections they have - and the impact they can have on others - a culture of independence and ownership is fostered.
- "Equip young people with the confidence and skills to seek out new opportunities, relationships and economic well-being."
How can social media do this?
- Social networking analysis can seem quite complicated...
Network thinking as a tool to address social challenges