Chapter 10: Tomorrow's Crowd

The author mentions the concept of "digital natives" - beginning with the late Millenial generation, these are individuals for whom there is no memory of a time without Internet technology and the assumption that they use mobile and social technology far more extensively.

There's a digression into modding in the gaming industry. Some software companies were hostile to the process, but many recognized that people creating software that modified their game didn't hurt their sales of the original game and in some instances may improve their sales - so most game companies now encourage and support the ability to modify their games.

He dives into this topic for a long time, going into details about the practice of modifying games, which is done as a hobby. It's a stretch to think of it as crowdsourcing - it's not collaborating on a product, as each modder works on his own creation, like a photoshop competition in which participants try to one-up or impress one another.

He seems to imply that software companies were opposed to the idea but were unable to legally pursue people who were making derivative works because of the "fair use" provision of the copyright law - and because they gave their work away for free there was no financial incentive.

(EN: Contention between studios and modders never really was an issue. Many games would provide the ability to make your own map, create your own avatar, make custom items, and share the customizations. The software to do this was often packaged on the same disk as the game. For most software companies, customizing was never seen as a threat and was actively encouraged because it extended engagement with their products. The only problem was [a few] instances in which people would attempt to sell their modified versions as a stand-alone game, stealing the engine and replacing the game content ... and the effective response to that was simply to begin offering commercial licenses. So there never was this widespread contention the author implies.)

At the same time, this openness stands in stark contrast to the music industry, which is rabid in defense of its own intellectual property. Even to sample a few bars of a song into another work (a la Vanilla Ice) would result in lawsuits. (EN: Again, this is a distorted comparison, as a musician can sample or even replicate another artist's music so long as it is not recorded for sale. It's not uncommon for musicians to perform a "cover" of another artist's music, though I expect there's some paperwork/payment involved if they wish to include it on an album. There are also tribute bands, but they tend to small acts who do live performance but do not sell recordings. Even so, my sense is that the few instances in which there was a serious legal conflict are atypical of the industry.)

Children Creating Content

The author then presents some statistics about the degree to which children are creating digital content. He cites some statistics that indicate that half to two-thirds of children are "creating content for the web" - original artwork, photos, stories, and videos.

(EN: The hype continues, but it's really not that exaggerated, nor particularly different to previous generations - just the medium has changed. For a child to create a picture and post it to a website is not much different, and in fact much easier, than for a child to draw something with crayons and tape it to his bedroom window. So his amazement seems a bit naive and affected.)

There's also a bit of melodrama about intellectual property - how children think nothing of snagging pictures off the internet for their creation without checking with the owners (EN: Again, no different to children who make collages with pictures cut out of magazines.)

He mentions this being a "participatory culture" in which children are communicating with a large audience and believe their contributions matter. In essence, they want to be recognized and praised for their work. This occurs largely through social media sites (Facebook) and online communities where their personal albums are shared wit hfriends and family.

In terms of social media, he notes that many children are aware of their media image. Their online behavior is less about interacting as their genuine selves, more about trying to create a positive opinion by means of what they communicate to others, even when this means being dishonest about themselves and their activities.

Finally, he speculates about what will happen as these children of a networked world grow up. Considering what's been noted here, characteristics such as independence, honesty, and integrity are being eroded in a medium where stealing, plagiarizing, and outright lying are common practices. Copying someone else isn't cheating, but collaborating, and the thought of doing anything alone, without help or discussion, is unthinkable.

(EN: It seems to go off the rails, and is entirely melodramatic and distorted.)