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Presentation in the Reading in a changing society conference in Tarto, November 2013.

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  1. 1. ‘New reading’ or communication? Finnish students as readers in the age of social media JUHA HERKMAN, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI JUHA.HERKMAN@HELSINKI.FI ELIISA VAINIKKA, UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE ELIISA.VAINIKKA@UTA.FI
  2. 2. Introduction  How does the idea of the „digital revolution‟ challenge contemporary conceptions of reading?  Change by spread of networked media and communication technologies  Internet the most important medium for younger generations
  3. 3. Research Questions  What do Finnish students read at the beginning of the 21st     century? How are their reading materials selected and from where? How do they read? What is the role of ICT and new electronic text forms in their media use and reading habits? How revolutionary do their reading habits look compared to previous studies of Finns as readers?
  4. 4. ”Net Generation”  Contemporary media use and reading habits of Finnish     students Survey (N=323), focused interviews, media diaries and focus group interviews Young adults 18-30 years-of-age A transition group between the younger „digital natives‟ born with social and ubiquitous media and the older generations of „digital immigrants‟ “The Net generation”
  5. 5. Theory of „new reading‟  Reading as cognitive activity > Cultural studies broadening meaning of reading > New literacies, socio-cultural literacy  Reading is understood as textual practices in which meanings, interpretations and texts are created from many different text-types in the networked media environment  Includes the social dimension  Different types of “texts”
  6. 6. Results  Interpersonal and social communication, short communicative texts, notes, debates, messages are the most often read text forms  In addition to Facebook, other multimodal text environments, such as YouTube, wikis, blogs and discussion forums, were also popular Figure 1. Social media use (percentage of all respondents, N=323).
  7. 7. Value of Reading in Everyday Life  Print media valued  Reading fiction was     especially appreciated as a leisure time activity Lack of time Online reading as daily routines Negative towards digital publications From national to a global content (The Harry Potter generation?) Figure 2. Share of print media among survey respondents (percentage of all respondents, N=323).
  8. 8. Conclusions: Evolution not revolution  Transition between the traditional reading of printed materials and the „new reading‟ activities of social media  Reading still a fairly private experience  The young understood reading as a primarily individual cognitive skill of understanding and interpreting (printed) texts  Internet use of young adults is often more a repetition of daily routines than innovative or pioneering development of new content (Buckingham 2008)
  9. 9. Conclusions: Evolution not revolution  Most textual practices related to online communication and social media, where socio-cultural literacy has a significant role, even though the respondents themselves did not necessarily consider these textual practices as „reading‟  Even though young adults spent a lot of time with short text forms for interpersonal and peer communication, they had not abandoned reading professionally produced texts and they still appreciate printed text forms – especially books  Different forms of media use complete (rather than compete with) each other as forms of reading

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