From Eszter Hargittai's scholarship to more recent work by marketing analytics firms, we know that race and socio-economic status shape MySpace and Facebook usage. Yet, it is the rhetoric used by participants that highlights how these distinctions play out.
As a new media researcher, I've struggled to find appropriate venues for publishing and disseminating my work. In the late nineties, when studies of online communities, cyberculture, and electronic gaming were still in their infancy, and when I was launching my scholarly career, my work was never accepted into the journals of my discipline of anthropology. Educational journals didn't recognize my work on new media and play as part of their charter. This reflected my personal failures in translating my research topics into the established idioms of my discipline and field, but I expect my experience is not unique for those who work in new and emerging areas of inquiry.
Today, at the forum on Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age, being hosted by the Sesame Workshop at Google headquarters, we are announcing the launch of a major new research initiative in digital media and learning (DML) and its associated website. Based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in Irvine, California, the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub is generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative. The Research Hub, for which I serve as Executive Director and Mimi Ito the Research Director, intersects work promoting and networking collaborative efforts to understand and assess the participatory ways in which digital media are transforming youth learning practices and lifelong learning opportunities.