What We Do Online Everyday: Constructing Electronic Biographies, Constructing Ourselves

Judith C. Lapadat (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada), Maureen L. Atkinson (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada) and Willow I. Brown (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 301
EISBN13: 9781609603434|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-863-0.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter addresses the collaborative participatory nature of online interactivity within the range of social networking spaces afforded by Web 2.0 (O’Reilly, 2005). Each individual, through his or her situated usage patterns and choices, creates a unique digital fingerprint or electronic biography. Using a multiple case study method including children and youth ranging in age from five to fifteen years of age, the authors examined children’s online interactivity through their electronic biographies. This case report focuses on the children’s experiences of online interaction as a seamless component of their literacy (Thomas, 2007) and presents a profile of each young person that characterizes his or her unique online fingerprint. The findings provide insight into how children learn online interactivity, and their communities of practice at different stages of development. Their roles ranged from passive surfer-viewer-seekers to interactive discussant-displayer-players. Infrequently, some youth showed proactive leadership as host-builder-creators. The experiences of these young people provide practical evidence of the transformation of literacy; for them, the Internet serves as an information resource, a collaborative medium, and a design environment (Lapadat, Atkinson, & Brown, 2009). Narrative plays a key role online, especially in the construction of identity. The results of this study have implications for educators, parents, social scientists, and policy makers, and in particular, raise concerns about the commodification of childhood and how commercial interests have shaped sites used by children.
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