‘Digital hangouts’

By Anne Collier

Most adults know that a lot happens when teens are “hanging out,” and all that personal and social development’s happening in online hangouts now too. Two researchers supported by the MacArthur Foundation offer insights into what’s happening in two such “places” – YouTube and Faraway Lands. In “Self Production and Social Feedback Through Online Video-Sharing on YouTube,” psychologist Sonja Baumer describes what went into and came out of a video by 19-year-old “Fatalshade” (her screenname), who grew up on a family farm. Fatalshade “indicates that the video has enabled her to understand the complexity of growing up and confusion around the feelings and desires that teenagers often encounter,” Baumer writes. And in “You Have Another World to Create: Teens and Online Hangouts,” sociologist C.J. Pascoe describes how one teen, Clarissa, explores identity and role-plays with “friends from all over the world” in her favorite online hangout, Faraway Lands. For more insights and stories – including “Coming of Age in Networked Public Culture,” by Heather Horst – see the Digital Youth Research site at University of California, Berkeley.

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