Archive for February, 2010

What sort of web animal are you?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The Web Behaviour Test aims to find out what sort of web animal you are by surveying your web habits, as well as, testing your Internet searching and multi-tasking skills.

It is split into three main parts:

  • A survey of your web habits – how long you spend on various types of Internet activity, such as email, social networks etc.
  • Web search tasks – that look at how you formulate a search query, how long you take looking at search results and the sort of sites that you trust.
  • Multi-tasking tests – a series of Flash games that seem to test your short term memory and ability to do more than one thing at a time.

At the end of the test you are assigned a web animal based on your answers – are you slow or fast moving, solitary or sociable, adaptable or specialised – to see if you are a Fox, Hedgehog, Octopus etc.

The test is part of the Virtual Revolution TV series from the BBC that has been looking at how the Internet has shaped politics, economics, society and people – the final episode Homo Interneticus – featured academic contributions from the CIBER centre at UCL who produced the Google Generation report that was based in part, on a user evaluation of Intute.

Having done the test – there are a few questions still in my mind …

Self-selecting sample? The main way of finding out about the test was by watching the Virtual Revolution programme and as Phil Bradley pointed out, there was such a high demand following the broadcast that the server fell over, but isn’t this a sample of people pre-disposed to be interested users of the Internet?

The science bit Some of the categories of Internet activity seemed to overlap, meaning that the survey results could be skewed and the Flash games seemed to be just a very basic way of testing short term memory – the science behind the test isn’t very enlightening and I’d like to know more about their thinking.

Who do you think you are? The majority of the people I know who have taken the test wound up as Foxes – just like me – perhaps it would have been interesting to get people to assign themselves to one of the categories after taking the test, but before revealing their results to see how good they were at assessing their own Internet activity.

… but feel free to make up your own mind by taking the Web Behaviour Test and perhaps letting us know in the comments – what sort of web animal are you?

The Virtual Training Suite features more resources aimed at improving your Internet research skills, including over 60 subject specific tutorials and the Internet Detective.

Digital nations or virtual revolutions?

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Two new TV programmes on the role of the Internet in our lives have started on either side of the Atlantic.

The Virtual Revolution is a four part BBC series presented by Dr. Aleks Krotoski.

It will look at how the Internet has changed society, politics, the economy and people.

The website includes all the videos used in the series which can be downloaded and remixed, a list of research links on Delicious and a blog supporting the series.

The first programme aired last night and some of the reaction in the Twitterverse seemed to be disappointed that it wasn’t a straight history of the Internet, but rather advancing an argument about the impact of the Internet on society that can be agreed / disagreed with.

Digital Nation is a PBS programme produced by Rachel Dretzin and Douglas Rushkoff.

It will look at how the Internet is changing the pace of life, our relationships, how we wage war, live in virtual worlds and how we learn.

The website includes more videos than may feature in the broadcast, online learning resources for parents / educators and a blog supporting the programme.

The full programme airs online from tomorrow, but from watching a few of the many clips, some people may question why it is still advancing the digital natives thesis, when the nomenclature of digital residents and digital visitors seems to better fit the evidence as to how people behave online.