Virtual Possessions Have Powerful Hold On Teenagers

This is one of those “duh” studies, like “doctors who are totally stoned more mistakes in the operating room than doctors who are not,” but I do understand the value of conducing formal research to quantify cultural information.

“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff,” the comedian George Carlin famously observed. But a lot of stuff that often is cherished — printed books, photographs, music CDs — is being replaced by electronic equivalents, such as e-books and iPod downloads. And computers are generating artifacts that have never been stuff — social networking profiles, online game avatars, Foursquare badges— but can hold meaning.

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If a house is a place to store your stuff, then a mobile phone might be considered a treasure box that gives you access to your stuff, the interviews revealed. The “placelessness” of virtual possessions stored online rather than on a computer often enhanced their value because they were always available. One 17-year-old participant said she uploaded all of her photos online so that she could access them whether she was in her bed or at the mall. “Obviously, I can’t look at them all and that’s not the point,” she said. “I like knowing that they’ll be there if I want them.”

via Virtual Possessions Have Powerful Hold On Teenagers – Science News – redOrbit.