A Brown Bag Lunch at King’s College London

On February 11 we began one of our first series of talks to share the research findings that we have been gathering over the past year. If you are curious about our research design or how we have tried to approach this project click on the following link and it will take you through a series of slides that were used to present some of our initial findings to our colleagues in the Digital Humanities Department.  Here, we began by outlining some of the key conceptual ideas that helped to inform our research framework, specifically for the series of the focus groups and interviews that were carried out with our YRS participants.

We then outline some of the key brush strokes that were involved in this project namely:

Tumblr Diary1. Distributing SmartPhones & the MobileMiner

2. Focus Groups & Interviews held with all of the YRS participants

3. Tumblr Diaries – which we used to determine the amount of time our participants were spending on their mobiles and what they were doing when they were using them.  The Tumblr diaries were also used to cross reference what was gathered and dumped into the anonymized database at King’s via the MobileMiner app. It therefore helped us pair our data with the appropriate YRS participant and determiTumblr Diary 2ne if perceived media use matched their actual media use.

4. Hackathons – We held two.  The first involved our participants creating hacks that either improved upon the MobileMiner app or considered ways to interpret how privacy agreement operate. In the second hack we returned the data we had been collecting, based on the MobileMiner app downloads. YRS participants were then invited to create something with their own data.

The presentation then highlighted some of the key findings around our participant’s understanding of privacy.  Key points of interest for us included:

1. How much control do users actually have?
2. Is privacy something that is experienced individually or collectively?
3. Why is there so much apathy in relation to the amount of data that young people are willing to share about themselves online?
4. How can a more engaged pedagogical strategy be formulated?

Lastly, the presentation highlights some of the contradictions that our participants are confronted with when it comes to the harvesting of their data. While on the one hand there appears to be a kind of apathy or indifference to the amount of data that is regularly gathered on individual users, most of the projects that were created during the second hackathon were actually attempts to learn more about what they were generating.  Most of our participants sought ways to create tools that would afford them more agency and control over their own data, which for us signals a need for more robust approaches to data literacy. More to follow!