Sunday 31 January 2010

The iPad Generation comes of age

Ines connected with Amina by Catherine Balet
Ines connected with Amina, 2007 from the series 'Connected' by Catherine Balet. Two teenage girls, two iPods, a phone, a Mac and, out of frame, a television. Welcome to Generation iPad.

The picture, which won third prize at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2008, tells of a whole new way of consuming media (as well as revealing an emerging social culture where media consumption is dominant over interpersonal activity - but that's for the behavioural psychologists to explore).

Despite 15 years of supposed digital democratisation, the millions of videos on DailyMotion, pictures on Flickr and blog posts Dugg, the majority of the content on the Internet is produced 'professionally'.

Meanwhile, an article by Jakob Nielsen in 2006, corroborated in a study by Rubicon Consulting in 2008, showed that 99% of web users are either silent lurkers or just occasional contributors, while
1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions: it can seem as if they don't have lives because they often post just minutes after whatever event they're commenting on occurs.

That leaves the vast majority of people to consume content. For Generation iPad, the media is not experienced as it was by their parents, choosing between print, radio and television, by accessing simultaneously two or more types of content by means of 'tech' devices.

This is where the iPad comes in. It is not designed for those who know their Drupal from their Joomla, it's for the 99%, who have no idea what a content management system is anyway. The iPad is for Generation iPad, the middle-class, educated late teens and early twenties, who have grown up listening to music, playing games, chatting online and watching TV simultaneously.

Generation iPad is here. Are you ready for it?
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