15 May 2011


It is not only teens who prize virtual possessions! I read an article by professors at Carnegie Mellon University (Odom et al., CHI 2011 Advance Technical Conference, Vancouver, BC, May 7-12, 2011), who say the immaterial artifacts of the online world may be as precious to teens as material possessions. In fact, that a virtual possession does not have a physical form may actually enhance its value. Besides online photos, think of the electronic equivalents of books and music, such as e-books, and IPod downloads. Further, computers are now generating artifacts that have never been material: social-networking profiles, online-game avatars, etc. 

Personal stuff now has ubiquity: you can look at your photos (and FB account) in bed or at the mall.Then there's the cell phone. To teens, the smart-phone is now a treasure--no, it is their very self!--that gives them access to an "omnitopia" (Andrew Wood, City ubiquitous: Place, communication, and the rise of omnitopia [2009]), an everywhere/anywhere to which they are connected.

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