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Foundation Commissions $50 Million Online Study 70

Posted by kdawson
from the participation-gap dept.
PreacherTom writes, "It's not a stretch to say that kids use the Internet to play World of Warcraft and to tweak their MySpace pages. Still, the MacArthur Foundation doesn't think that is quite specific enough. The private, grant-making institution is commissioning a $50 million, five-year study to investigate precisely how and why young people use the Net. $10 million in grants is going to to individuals and organizations to work on projects that stimulate research in digital media. Sign me up."
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Foundation Commissions $50 Million Online Study

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  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @09:58PM (#16762003)
    since all of these technologies are relatively young and constantly changing, and any conclusions they may draw will likely be obsolete by the time they're published.
    • by TheCache (932862)
      Exactly! In 5 years the users and the reasons will be entirely different
      • by tehwebguy (860335)
        here are a few things that most of the general 'net using public didn't really use five years ago:

        bit torrent
        youtube
        itunes
        digg
        blogs
        social networking
    • Seriously.. given the rabid flailing and bandying of lawsuits by our friends in the media cartels, who is honestly going to answer "yes" to the question "do you download via P2P?" to anyone outside their known friends?

      I thought the data was already in on this.. 30% of bandwidth is being used by bit torrent alone.
    • I disagree; although internet fads and games are always changing, the things that make the internet appealing are fairly constant. Using the internet to promote ideas didn't start or end with blogs. Online gaming communities didn't start or end with WoW. Weird internet humor didn't start or end with goatse.
    • That was my first thought. In 5 years, about 80% of the data will be too antiquated to be of more than historical (or perhaps trendy (sic)) value.
  • by parasonic (699907) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:01PM (#16762043)
    ...and I know that I wouldn't get it. But here's your sad end result: porn.

    Now if they would now divert their attention elsewhere with that $50 million. Case closed!
  • 5 Years?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeXetic (627740) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:05PM (#16762101) Homepage
    A *5-year long* study about the Internet? Come on, by the time the study is complete, it'll be irrelevant as peoples' internet usage habits will have changed.
    • by krell (896769)
      "A *5-year long* study about the Internet? Come on, by the time the study is complete, it'll be irrelevant as peoples' internet usage habits will have changed."

      That's awfully insightful. After all, the hottest "trends" in the net now are the myspace-like social sites, and amateur video (Youtube). These were hardly a blip on the radar 5 years ago. However, I don't think its scandalous, as if the government was wasting money on something like this study.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      People's habits changed? .... I think not. Five years ago the answer would have been porn. Today it is porn, and in five years time it will be porn. In five hundred years in whatever replaces the internet the answer will also be porn. In five thousand years... anyway, you get the point...

      • by HeXetic (627740)
        But the porn has moved from small, dirty BBS systems, to small, creepy newsgroups, to small, creepy websites, to small, creepy videos on YouTube. I mean the study might as well conclude that people go on "the Internets in order to get entertainment and information", which is about as detailed and informative as a pre-bubble .com investor's prospectus.
  • Generator sites (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think 'generator sites' and stuff like YTMND [ytmnd.com] or Objection! [mrdictionary.net] would be useful to investigate because there's a big cross section of users and influences all coming together to create wild and varied (well... maybe just wild then) content.
  • by joe_bruin (266648) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:09PM (#16762133) Homepage Journal
    How can I tell if this is a trap?
    • by 77Punker (673758)
      I'm going to conduct some stimulating research with my digits about this "porn" you speak of. That's what they want, right?
  • Wouldn't the kids use the of internet have changed in that period of time?

  • Usage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hadhad69 (1003533) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:17PM (#16762187) Homepage
    #4 Plagiarism
  • i'm a bargain:

    the answer is pr0n, WoW, and AIM

    heck, i'm a nice guy, i'll cut my fee in half: $5 million please

  • Odd that all of the things listed in the article's summary are less than 5 years old, will the results after 5 years even be realavent?

    (except for the "porn" answer).
  • the internet is mostly a dump truck full of pr0n and Linux ISOs
  • it's the last wasteland.
    the final frontier.
    the wild west.

    youth uses the internet because they aren't told how and why to do so.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:26PM (#16762271)
    They're spending $50 million to do the same thing that spyware authors make money doing.

  • I'd do it for only 25 million dollars.
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:53PM (#16762439) Homepage Journal
    Can someone write a greasemonkey thingie so I never have to see 'itsatrap' again? And maybe strip out 'fud, notfud' as well?
    • But you can't just block all instances of 'itsatrap' - what if the good Admiral really did want to warn you?

      For that matter, what if Ackbar himself is behind today?
    • ... strip out anything which incorporates a word from the title or the name of the editor. And, since words from the title (thank you, but I understood that "Vista delayed again" was related to "Vista" and "delayed" without the helpful Web2.0 crew digesting it for me), fud/notfud, and stupid jokes comprise the entire set of Slashdot tags, we can just optimize out the feature to save screen space.
  • A bit off topic, I know, but this itsatrap stuff is really getting out of hand. Every single story on the front page now has "itsatrap". I love Admiral Ackbar [wikipedia.org] as much as the next guy, but there is such a thing as overdoing it.
  • Finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by schnooka_boy (1023007)
    Honestly, I'm surpsied it's taken this long. Internet use and culture is fascinating, I don't see how psychology can be such an enormous field and yet no one's begun a real effort analyze internet behavior. If you read the article, I'm certain they aren't just going to be analyzing what people are spending their time on (yeah, yeah, we all know teens just look at porn between emo bulletin posts to their Myspace). It should be more indepth then that. Of course, it's debatable if psychological findings reall
  • Alright.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by l0cust (992700)
    There are so many carbon copy (WOW,MySpace,AIM) comments, which will be repeated by some other clueless bums trying to act smart. So we can safely say that Adults use internet to try to find one amusing statement/quote and repeat it over and over again till everyone is sick of it, then they move on to the next one.

    Seriously, whats with the negative remarks. Don't you think just maybe some other purpose behind the study apart from which sites 'young' people like to visit and what they use to kill their ba
  • In 5 years, the Internet won't look anything like it does today, those children will be in different age groups, and the results won't be meaningful anymore. You can't spend 5 years to determine something that changes significantly every 1-3 years.
  • OK, Seriously (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Espectr0 (577637)
    Offtopic, but...
    Who is tagging every article "itsatrap"? Please stop abussing the tagging system. It is meant to be used to easily search for stories, not for memes or comments.
  • by vmardian (321592) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:42PM (#16762847) Homepage
    It's not a five year study, it's a five year initiative TO STUDY online culture.

    "... the MacArthur Foundation will give $10 million in grants to individuals and organizations to work on projects that stimulate research in digital media or explore new approaches to educational innovation....The remaining $40 million will be put towards fulfilling the broader aim of connecting researchers, educators, youth, and practitioners in different disciplines (and across sectors). A digital knowledge hub is already in the works, so that teachers from around the world can compare, contrast, and share research, tools, and findings through open-source software and online forums."
  • Wholly mackerel, that's decades, centuries even, in internet time!

    I wonder how they will factor that in, or if that is indeed part of the study.

    I should RTFA, but this is /..
  • I'll submit my own observation: people use the internet to post "it's a trap" on anything they possibly can.
  • The Myth of Porn (Score:2, Interesting)

    I suspect that the heyday of porn on the net is passed. Gone are the days when people posted galleries of every pornographic image known to man and damn the copyrights. It is all pay to play now, except for some rather nasty free and "amateur" stuff, and I seriously doubt that many teenagers are forking over for pornsite subscriptions.

    Of course, it depends on what you mean by "young people."

    What fraction of slashdot readers, male or female, have spent more than US$100 in the past 24 months on internet por

  • Back when I was a lad it used to take 30 minutes to download one 16 color pr0n pic... Now it takes only 10 minutes to download movies... I think the better question is what are the youth of today doing with all of the extra spare time?
  • If they spend 5 years performing the study an entire "generation" of network users will change over in that time. Think how much the online experience has changed in 5 years. This is a study in watching user tastes and technology change.
  • The private, grant-making institution is commissioning a $50 million, five-year study to investigate precisely how and why young people use the Net.


    MacArthur Foundation Trustee: You've spent $49.98 million so far, and your report is due tomorrow. What have you found out?

    Guy surfing MySpace and playing WoW: Ummmm...I'm almost done with it. I'll email it by COB tomorrow.

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