Jiva Technology

looking down the road

It’s hardly insightful to suggest that the current cohort of school and university leavers are likely to enter a world of work that will be dramatically different to the one experienced by their parents. They’ll most likely be the willing or possibly unwilling recipients of parental advice based on a working world that didn’t have to cope with climate change or the full force of emerging market competition across the spectrum from low skilled occupations to the highest of high technology. We all tend to fall back on our own experience at one time or another, most likely because it’s the easiest option, but anyone with a genuine eye on the well being of today’s ‘education leavers’ would be well advised to read the recent report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. The report looks at the world of work in 2030 and suggests certain scenarios as to what the world may look like when today’s university leavers are in the early peak of their careers. It makes for fairly grim reading and under all possible scenarios can best be summarised as ‘get skilled or get used to insecurity’.

limiting access to meaning

I won’t bother adding a link, because (annoyingly) unless you have a subscription to the FT Online, it won’t be of any use to you. However, reading the old fashioned paper version of the FT at the weekend, I was amused to see a review of three books all relating to the same subject: the power struggle between parents and adolescents over privacy. All three books were adequately reviewed, but one, “It’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens” by media scholar Danah Boyd stood out from crowd simply because it’s based on sound research as opposed to subjection.

I originally started reading the article because I thought there’d be some interesting insights, which there were, but one phrase really struck a chord. Boyd suggest that, “limiting access to meaning can be a much more powerful tool for achieving privacy than trying to limit access to the content itself”. In this instance she’s talking about the use of text speak to exclude parents from the conversation, but it occurs to me that it’s a weapon of power that we all use. “Inside talk” excludes those not in the know. Doctors use it, policemen use it, Planet Geek uses it; it’s a weapon of power. If we limit access to meaning through the use of uncommon phrases, words or uncommon use of words, we exclude others.

We are not being exact, we are being exclusive.


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