¿Quiénes son los nativos digitales?, y ¿por qué?

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Post original by Juan Freire

El concepto de nativos digitales se ha instalado ya entre nosotros quizás reemplazando el de brecha digital que se repetía constantemente en los años anteriores. Quizás también los nativos digitales son los “provocadores” de una nueva brecha digital más sutil y perversa que las que se discutieron en el pasado. Una brecha cultural que no se relaciona con la geografía ni, en gran parte, con la capacidad económica y que sitúa a la inmensa mayoría de la población ya “alfabetizada digitalmente” en el lado equivocado.

Por eso mucha gente está debatiendo el concepto y sus implicaciones y están empezando a aparecer ideas sumamente interesantes para identificar a esos nativos y, especialmente, las razones que los hacen diferentes. Empresas, políticos, universidades y padres, por citar solo algunos, deberían estar muy atentos y empezar a rediseñar sus estrategias ante los nuevos consumidores, usuarios, votantes, ciudadanos, hijos, estudiantes … con los que se tienen que relacionar.

Genís Roca lleva ya un tiempo analizando el concepto de nativos digitales y narrando casos concretos. En uno de sus posts, y analizando el caso de  Victoriano Izquierdo,  identificaba las características culturales propias de los nativos:

El dominio de los medios de producción digital. Les gusta crear, les gusta mucho crear, y lo digital lo hace posible. Ya sólo es cuestión de tiempo y esfuerzo (y talento)…

El mundo como terreno de juego.  Todo se desarrolla a escala global con normalidad…

La red como elemento socializador. Incorporan la red como elemento vertebrador, algo que los inmigrantes digitales no suelen hacer…. 

– Aprenden en red y de la red. Sigo con el jugoso post de Luís Rull… “… a los pocos segundos de que empezara a hablar me quedé estupefacto: ese chico estaba hablando de anclaje, economía de la atención, ethos colectivos,… sin conocer ninguno de esos términos. Conocía los conceptos sin tener que haberlos estudiado, por pura experiencia y reflexión.”

Dan importancia a la identidad digital…

Participan de la conversación…

Crecen diferente. Ya que lo hacen explorando y transgrediendo.

danah boyd, en su presentación en la conferencia 4S celebrada en Montreal, Choose Your Own Ethnography: In Search of (Un)Mediated Life (transcripción), proporciona un excelente análisis de los retos que se plantean a los antropólogos que trabajan con comunidades digitales (y en especial aquellas de nativos digitales) y su propia definición de nativos digitales; aquellos que viven una experiencia en red y realmente híbrida en que no existe distinción entre lo analógico y lo digital:

While I groan whenever the buzzword ‘digital native’ is jockeyed about, I also know that there is salience to this term. It is not a term that demarcates a generation, but a state of experience. The term is referencing those who understand that the world is networked, that cultures exist beyond geographical coordinates, and that mediating technologies allow cultures to flourish in new ways. Digital natives are not invested in ‘life on the screen’ or ‘going virtual’ but on using technology as an artifact that allows them to negotiate culture. In other words, a ‘digital native’ understands that there is no such thing as ‘going online’ but rather, what is important is the way in which people move between geographically-organized interactions and network-organized interactions. To them, it’s all about the networks, even if those networks have coherent geographical boundaries.

John Palfrey y Urs Gasser están preparando un libro, Born Digital, sobre nativos digitales que aparecerá en 2008: how some young people, including our kids, use technologies in ways that are different that what we’ve seen before.

Palfrey discute en en su blog las dificultades que presenta la definición e identificación de los nativos digitales con respecto a otros colectivos demográficos, geográficos o culturales y propone algunos criterios para su definición. La edad, la pertenencia a una generación cronológica, no es un factor suficiente ni que identifique las razones últimas de la pertenencia de una persona a esta categoría:

– Not all people born during a certain period of history (say, after the advent of BBSes) are Digital Natives. Not everyone born today lives a life that is digital in every, or indeed any, way. For starters, only about 1 billion of the 6.7 billion people in the world have regular access to the supposedly “World Wide Web.” In other cases, young people we are meeting choose to have little to do with digital life.

– Not all of the people who have the character traits of Digital Natives are young. The term “Digital Immigrant” doesn’t describe those people either — people like Urs and me, like our colleagues at the Berkman Center who are over a certain age — who live digital lives in as many ways, if not more, than many Digital Natives. Many of us have been here as the whole digital age has come about, and many of our colleagues have participated in making it happen in lots and lots of crucial ways.

Un nativo digital se caracteriza culturalmente, por su forma de interacción con la información y con los otros, ya sean individuos o colectivos:

We started out asking whether there is a straight “generational gap” between those Born Digital and those who were not. The point of our research, in the first instance, is to take up these terms Digital Native and Digital Immigrant, and work them over. What I think we’ve found is that age is relevant, but not dispositive. What I think we are describing in our book is a set of traits — having to do with how people interact with information, with one another, and with institutions — that are more likely to be found in those Born Digital, but not certainly so. Many people Born Digital have some but not all of these traits. Many people who were not Born Digital — you (who read this blogpost) and me and Urs and perhaps most Berkmaniacs, to be sure — have these traits and more, more even than most Digital Natives. That’s essential to the puzzle of the book. There is a generational gap, but it’s not purely a generational gap.

Así proponen una tipología que combina la edad (la pertenencia a la generación que se supone supuso el nacimiento de los nativos) y el comportamiento:

  1. those who are Born Digital and also Live Digital = the *Digital Natives* we focus on in this book (to complicate things further: there is a spectrum of what it means to live digitally, with a series of factors to help define where a Digital Native falls on it);
  2. those who are Born Digital (i.e., at a moment in history, today) and are *not* Living Digital (and are hence not Digital Natives);
  3. those who are not Born Digital but Live Digital = us (for whom we do not have a satisfactory term; perhaps we need one — our colleague David Weinberger suggests “Digital Settlers”);
  4. those who are not Born Digital, don’t Live Digital in any substantial way, but are finding their way in a digital world = Digital Immigrants; and,
  5. those who weren’t Born Digital and don’t have anything to do with the digital world, whether by choice, reasons of access or cash, and so forth.

El libro Born Digital cuenta con el Wiki Digital Natives donde se puede colaborar en su desarrollo. What is the Digital Natives Project:

An academic research team — joining people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland — is hosting and working on the core of this wiki, which illustrates the beginning stages of a larger research project on Digital Natives.

Are all youth digital natives? Simply put, no. Though we frame digital natives as a generation “born digital,” not all youth are digital natives. Digital natives share a common global culture that is defined not by age, strictly, but by certain attributes and experiences related to how they interact with information technologies, information itself, one another, and other people and institutions. Those who were not “born digital” can be just as connected, if not more so, than their younger counterparts. And not everyone born since, say, 1982, happens to be a digital native. Part of the challenge of this research is to understand the dynamics of who exactly is, and who is not, a digital native, and what that means.

The focus of this research is on exploring the impacts of this generational demarcation between those born with these technologies and those who were not. The project will address the issues and benefits of this digital media landscape and gain valuable insight into how digital natives make sense of their experiences online. This information will help us make recommendations to educators and legislators in a way that supports young people and harnesses the exciting possibilities their digital fluency presents.

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