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Do the young really lack concentration?

Written By: - Date published: 1:23 pm, March 1st, 2015 - 85 comments
Categories: admin, blogs, humour, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, The Standard - Tags:

Now that I can no longer call myself young2, the old adage that younger people simply lack concentration does appear to me to be correct. So I’m going to stop slagging off the old, and start slagging off the young.  It is more fun…

But since I am a person who likes and depends on numbers from my training and profession1, I look to numbers to see if there is a correlation and if I can argue a causation based on age.

In the case of this site, there are a lot of people, and google analytics gives a lot of interesting demographic data that is moderately trustworthy3. I’ve picked the election month of September last year and February this year as points to do a basic test of my curmudgeon theory. That is mostly because everyone piles in in election month, but only hardened political junkies are still there in Feburary.

So in the (punctuated by election day and public holidays) 31 days of September and 27 of February we had the following. Feb doesn’t have all its numbers in for the 28th as you can see in the blue graph line.

TS_FebVsSept_overall

Note that we are about half the size in page views and sessions in February. We have had a massive growth since Feb 20144, but election month is always hectic. Also note that the “Sessions” are meant to be calculated the same way as “visits” for statcounter/sitemeter that are reported in Open Parachute, but analytics is about 2/3rds the volume as statscounter (and sitemeter is different again)5. Look at the page views, they are more reliable.

Ok, so as you’d expect we have a more people (Users) on site in election month, but on average they read fewer pages, stay on site for shorter periods, ‘bounce’ more (ie scan a page and immediately leave), and we have more new people (% New Sessions). These are all effects that you’d expect

Now look at the age demographic details. This table is for the number merchants like swordfish. The more accessible charts are further down. Note that the number for sessions are lower than the counted numbers above. This is because they are the sessions for people that google has age data on.

And watch out for the odd positioning of the age bands. That is a ‘feature’ (ie bug) of analytics.

TS_FebVsSept_age

Click for a larger image

 

Breaking it down. The NZ age column is pretty vertical these days. I can’t find a pyramid for the 2013 census, but it looks like this estimate from stats..

nzip13-population-pyramid

If we look at the spread of ages vs sessions then you can see the age skew is towards the older age groups. We pick up more of the busy parents (25-34) during election time, but otherwise our audience composition remains pretty static

TS_FebVsSept_age1

 

This appears to always surprise journos who seem to think that sites like this are populated by angry middle aged men (ie kiwiblog), but really shouldn’t. For a start, analytics tells us that we  have about a third of the readers on this site are woman. That is a really high number for a NZ political blog sites outside of the feminist blogs. My guess is that on kiwiblog it’d be single digits.

But the focus of most news media appears to be orientated less to providing information and more to providing gossip these days (look at the NZ Herald). At least on a site like TS politically knowledgeable people can discuss what they know about what is going on without listening the dumbarse marketing blather fed to credulous ill-educated journos who don’t do activist level politics.  Mostly they talk crap as they try to explain something they have never done to an audience who have only a cursory interest.

But back to the question of age related concentration. Lets look at session duration.

TS_FebVsSept_age2

Ouuuuuch. 9 minutes per sessions for the boomers in Feb vs 5 minutes for the 25-34 age group. Cripes I know they are busy with the horribles. But that is a freaky drop off. I’m sure that they are spending time (as rocky put it) standing in a queue, child in hand, having a brief read on their cellphones. However there is a distinct age related graduation in that sequence.

And page views per session

TS_FebVsSept_age3

Same thing there. No depth in the younger age groups 🙂

Ok, argue amongst yourselves. But I’ll run a little test. When you are making a point about alternate explanations, explain why. First few people who just slag off others or call it a age related smear or just concentrate on the couple of smears I deliberately put in the post will be presumed to haven’t bothered reading the post down to this warning.

They will win a prize of a week long ban for the stupidity of commenting without reading the whole of the post..


 

  1. It must have been a hell of a shock to my maths teachers when I wandered off to do a science degree. I was always far more interested in social areas like pysch, sociology, history and geography when I was a school kid because they were what my mother was doing at uni. But those kinds of topics were simply too easy by the time I got to uni. So I did a BSc with 5th form maths and 6th form biology because it was more fun to work on things that I didn’t understand well. My next degree was an MBA in operations management with even more number crunching. It was rather inevitable that when PC’s became available that I went into that structural paradise of programming.
  2. I think I am 55, possibly 56. Who (apart from my 75 year old mother) bothers to remember my age?
  3. Google picks up data from the information that people often fill in whenever they use services like gmail or google analytics. They fill it out with anything else that they can find. Typically about 50-60% of the people who visit our site have donated them information.
  4. In Feb 2014 we had according to statcounter, 317k  page views, and it’d been pretty static at about 300k since the 2011 election. This Feb we had 417k. Feb 2011 was about 260k. This is the pattern we have seen with elections. We get a leap in long term readers after an election. The best time to view it is in Feb as the holiday break ends. It looks like we probably grew our base of readers by about a third. Interestingly Kiwiblog and The Daily Blog looks like they have dropped quite a lot of audience compared to previous Febs. But we can wait until Ken releases his ranks.
  5. I have no idea why Ken at Open Parachute chooses to order on “Visits” or why different counters are treated the same or why there is no standard on what the settings for for the counters. All of these change the ‘visit’ numbers quite a lot on sites with long read durations like political blogs. Changing the duration ‘visit’ from 30 minutes to 360 minutes makes a about a 10% difference at TS for the number of “Visits”.  Dropping it to 10 minutes in  one of the other counters I tried nearly doubled the visits. But Ken provides it free of charge and does the work to maintain it. I do wish he’d add a pages per visit column in which would highlight how ‘different’ the sites are operating.So I only read the page views column anyway. That is roughly the same (within a few percent) in all site counters that are based on javascript and exclude most of the robots that don’t execute it. It is a far better cross platform analysis.

85 comments on “Do the young really lack concentration? ”

  1. Zorr 1

    I would actually argue that a lot of the older readers spend longer per page read as that average will be made higher up by those that read/engage in the comments. For those of us that are younger, there is often very little point in engaging here and we have little invested in the community or trying to find a place among the already established commentariat. What can we add that hasn’t already been covered by the regular commenters? Especially when it breaks down to hashing out the same old tired lines of combat that have been established already…

    Not to beat a dead horse, but the younger generation tends to be more feminist and more aware of privilege in my experience. It’s good to come here for the opinion and then leave before reaching the comments…

  2. Pasupial 2

    Regarding point 3; “Google picks up data from the information that people often fill in whenever they use services like gmail or google analytics”. I suspect that many in the younger age bands may use; email accounts of convenience, with nonaccurate and minimal personal details. I know that is the case for myself – why make things easier for the spies (both governmental & corporate)?

    Of course, as I generally comment from a desktop PC; I’ll be using the same IP address with my personal & spam-magnet emails, so may be entirely transparent to Google. But as you say that; 40-50% of visitor’s age is unknown to Google Analytics (actually; “Typically about 50-60% of the people who visit our site have donated them information”, which is much the same thing), I would be cautious about being too certain about conclusions reached from this data set.

    • lprent 2.1

      Oh I agree about entering the bullshit. I do it all of the time myself (typically James T Kirk from Starship Enterprise) and have done so for nearly 30 years. I also usually put in ridiculous answers like being 110 years old…

      But I jump computers a lot. Typically I usually carry 2-4 of them at all times when I am moving (ie cell, tablet, my laptop, work laptop). And I will work with at least a dozen different ‘computers’ a day with virtual machines, remote servers, isolated test systems, cloud servers, or whatever. With the exception of the commandline only servers and the ones without any net access, just getting onto chrome or firefox (or frigging IE) generally sees me living in a familiar world each time after I have been on them a while.

      https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2799357?hl=en

      Google seem to cross check their personalisation a *lot* compared to somewhere like alexa and other services I have used. They appear to discard a lot more of the data as well. 50%-60% on this site is a really low hit rate even for them. But this is what google sell and what they sell has to be reasonably accurate, or their customers are going to kick up a stink.

      I’ve accessed analytics on a number of sites now and been pretty impressed at how well it reflects the aggregate type of audience type that I know is on those sites. In another bit of the system, they list interests. Needless to say we attract self-professed “political junkies” and “news junkies” of various types…

      Incidentally I have also been completely disconcerted at how well google follow me around. Even on a completely clean laptop disconnected from my usual networks and sites, they’re usually zeroing in on what kinds of ads I might be interested in in a hurry

      • DH 2.1.1

        It would be interesting to know just how wide ranging Google’s data collection is. They are pretty savvy, Gmail & Youtube look to be their main sources of demographic data but they might also have session traps in Google analytics itself that estimate age & gender by sites visited.

        Anyone who values their ‘net privacy should avoid signing up to any Google-owned site, or at least clear cookies when they leave the site. Log in to Gmail and it sets a whole bunch of cookies, for other Google-owned sites like Youtube, that remain active until the cookies are physically cleared.

        Google isn’t even a decent search engine any more, it’s turned into a giant virus.

  3. Ray 3

    I think Pasupial makes a valid point
    Regarding your thought that the 25 24 group would be busy with the “horribles”
    I think if you check the census figures you will find having children at that age is not average behavior
    Old people ( I am a boomer) have been moaning about youth for thousands of years, see Socrate’s thoughts on the matter
    Just see this as another version

    • lprent 3.1

      25-34? That is exactly the female group you’d expect with small children. Umm. here we go. Forget the urban myths beloved by people who don’t think about statistics (and journos)

      http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/mythbusters/first-baby-at-30.aspx

      The median age for women giving birth in 2011 was 30 years. That means that half of all women giving birth were younger than 30 years and half were aged over 30 years. However, this takes into account all live births, regardless of the number of times a woman has previously given birth. Therefore, the median age for a woman giving birth to her first child will be lower.

      Conclusion
      This myth is busted.

      So, at what age are women having their first child? The median age of mothers giving birth to their first child is roughly 28 years, two years younger than the average across all mothers. It is also important to note that this median age is based on children of the current relationship only.

      The median age for both childbirth and birth of first child has remained steady since 2001.

      About one-half of births are registered as first births. The median age of women giving birth to their second child is roughly 32 years.

      How did this myth arise?
      This myth may have arisen because we have been reluctant to publish data on mother’s age at first birth, although there is interest in this from health researchers and providers, media, businesses, and the general public.

      Information about births comes from the birth registration form. The form asks whether there are any other children of the mother’s current relationship. This is because, for privacy reasons, it is deemed unacceptable to ask women about children outside their current relationship. Although children from previous relationships are probably included in some cases, this question does not produce a complete measure of all previous live births to a woman. The ‘real’ median might be slightly younger than that given above, but 28 years is a reasonable estimate of the upper limit.

      My bold italics are at the end and here again.

      The real median age is probably somewhere closer to 27 than 28 for women. At which point half of all women have already had their first kid.

      The median age for males will be a little higher simply because of the disparity of ages between the genders in relationships (there is a stats note about that somewhere as well).

      So the age group 25-34 is the group with most young kids.

      • Francis 3.1.1

        You used “25-24 age group” part way down the page. Presumably it’s a typo, but it is slightly ambiguous (you could mean “15-24” or “25-34”).

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Thanks.

          Probably a typo. I wrote it late at night and then put charts in during lunch at a sunday work session the following day. Tired split sessions are always my worst downfall as a writer of text. When I write code the compilers and parsers usually take care of that kind of error.

          Found and fixed. Should have been “25-34 age group”

  4. jenny kirk 4

    Isn’t it far more likely that older people have a bit more time on their hands, than younger ones, undoubtedly being without the “horribles” who do take up the time I would have thought of the 25-34s, and the even younger ones are too busy enjoying life to bother with a serious blog like this ?

  5. Hateatea 6

    Speaking only for myself, I have cautiously returned here after taking a sabbatical from all forms of on-line commentary for a couple of years.

    As the internet was unavailable to me during my 20’s to early 40’s, I am unsure as to whether or not I would have engaged with a site like this as I was only starting to develop a broad political interest compared to the issues based approach I had when I was younger. I was also more readily reached by the spoken word during those years while now I am more focussed on the written to formulate my views. Of course, I have read more widely, developed better critical thinking, had more life experience and, thanks to the lack of employment options available to me, have more time on my hands to spend wandering around the internet following articles, people and events that take my interest.

    I suspect that younger political junkies will be aware of sites such as this and drop by but the average younger person may still be (mostly) disinterested in politics except at the flash points that affect them personally. It will be interesting to see if the government’s decision to join the ISIL debacle will generate more awareness as Vietnam and anti-tour demonstrations did for many in my circle.

    Thought provoking though because we need more awareness in the young voting populace to encourage change amongst the grey beards who dominate much of the current debate.

    My 2c worth and hopefully on topic!

    • greywarshark 6.1

      @ Hateatea
      What you say rings a bell with me.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        Me too.

        Hateatea you are right. Those of us who cut our teeth during the Vietnam/anti-tour/ anti-nuclear period became far more politicised than the currently more youthful generations. We were political products of our time and once the ‘addiction’ set in, it became a permanent state of mind for many of us. The following generations have grown up in a political vacuum in large part because of the neo-liberal consensus that has discouraged intelligent and wide ranging political discourse.

        You may well be correct. The ISIL debacle could re-ignite the more youthful amongst us to take a more active part in politics. I would welcome such an eventuality.

        Glad to see you back. 🙂

        • Macro 6.1.1.1

          Ah yes! The marches down Salamanca Rd! How often did we do that in the 60’s?
          My daughter has taken up the baton (her latest protest poster – “We kill people, who kill people, because killing people is wrong!”) Now there are many younger ones out there, but I do not think as many in our day. Maybe it won’t be long. It takes time for the masses to wake up to the fact that they are being disenfranchised. Especially when we have such a soporific “Ministry of Truth” as we have in NZ.

  6. `
    Is the internet destroying or attention span?
    Simply put, yes. The average attention span is five minutes. Ten years ago, it used to be 12 minutes. Some blame the internet but it appears to be a small factor in a much broader phenomenon …

    There is growing evidence that society is getting dumber. 😯

    • Hateatea 7.1

      I blame television advertising myself but then I am a grumpy old woman, lol.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Have you looked for any evidence that would falsify your hypothesis?

      “The authors show that intelligence test scores are going up everywhere in the world…”

      Neisser, Ulric 1998.

      Also see the link between low IQ and lead exposure, and the Flynn Effect (and its alleged reversal).

      • And yet our country is ruled by an evil clown, who has followed the pied piper into a meaningless war on the other side of the world

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1

          …and Pinker has shown that per capita violence is decreasing globally.

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.2.2

        That isn’t evidence of a smarter, more capable or wiser population; that’s evidence that people are doing better at intelligence tests.

        • Zorr 7.2.2.1

          So where is there any evidence for any of this?

          We haven’t had a world war in generations… obviously we are totes smarter now…

          Realistically, all this is bullshit because it is purely a cultural importance thing where the world that the Gen Xers and on (I’m Gen Y) inhabit a very different cultural space than the previous generations. Our world requires different skill sets than yours did.

          • Colonial Rawshark 7.2.2.1.1

            Possibly, except we live in the same world.

            What I do know is that Gen Y’s will have to deal with climate change and fossil fuel depletion for 20 harder years than the older Gen X’s will have to. I do hope those different “skill sets” you mention set your generation up for that.

            • Zorr 7.2.2.1.1.1

              My wife is 6 years my senior. She is Gen X. I am Gen Y. It isn’t often a 20 year difference like that and you are deliberately overstating it for effect. Gen X are the generation that had MTV in their teenage years (using the US as the yardstick here) and Gen Y start with the internet in their teens (I was 12 in 1995). Everyone who was a child (under 10) in the 80s have all equally fucked by baby boomers and their offspring (those born up until 1970 but I’m unsure of the term used for that far).

              We may live in the same world, but our heavily formative years all happen in different “worlds” if we are to talk about the culture that exists when we are in our teens and tweens.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Mate, I went with wikipedia which defined Gen X as those born from the 60s through to the 80s. It also stated that the generations known as Boomers, X’s, and Y’s are generally regarded to be approx 20 years in duration.

                If you want to call a 6 year difference worthy of being described as generationally culturally different, go for it.

                • Zorr

                  LMAO

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV_Generation

                  This is what I know as “Generation X” – and yes, the generations that have grown up with globalization in everything and instant interconnectedness have grown up in a world that is substantially culturally different than any generation before them. I have more in common with 20 year olds these days than I do with 40 year olds.

                  • Zorr

                    And re-reading that description, you are right. Fuck the Gen X’ers. I got my timing mixed up and my wife ends up kind of somewhere not quite Millenial/Gen Y but I am square in that bracket.

                    *shrug*

                    Slight revision then. Fuck y’all. Y’all done fucked us and all I got was this lousy McJob.

              • lprent

                It isn’t often a 20 year difference like that and you are deliberately overstating it for effect.

                Lyn is 16 years younger than I am. I find that there are a lot of differences between us. How much of that is due to gender, age/generation, or just the totally different style of lives between growing up in Invercargill or growing up in Ponsonby and Mt Albert is probably moot.

                What we do tend to share is that we are both netizens. Lyn grew up with it being present, I grew up with it appearing in my adulthood and shifting into it. But where we live in it reflects our basic differences on how we came to it. I tend to spend a lot of time building systems of hardware, software, and wetware in different places. Lyn tends to ‘surf’ it.

                But I was at the cutting edge of personal computing. 🙂 When I was about 15, my old man brought back some early cheap 4 function calculators after a trip to Europe. They were amongst the first at Mt Albert Grammar and were a bit of big thing then. That is how recent this stuff was.

                http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/history_of_electronic_calculat.html

                See 1975

                But really the gender differences are probably the biggest difference between us… Which is what we see on this site as well.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.2.1.2

            Pinker’s data includes both world wars.

        • greywarshark 7.2.2.2

          Sinik.

    • Zorr 7.3

      Yet none of those links is actual research… just pseudo science junk sites

      “Is the internet making us dumber?”
      A: Yes, if you read those sites and think of the information there as true

    • Scintilla 7.4

      From yr first link: “When people read text only they are able to understand more thoroughly what the text is about than when a video is involved. This compliments what 64% of teachers in the Pew online survey said about digital technologies, “They do more to distract students than to help them academically.”

      It’s depressing, watching students researching online. They are simply drowned in the tidal wave of information and because so many (especially boys) reject reading/literacy, they cannot develop the information literacy tools they need to discern shit from clay. Unable to analyse or evaluate, because they simply have not developed the core vocabulary and comprehension skills they need, they operate a very hit and miss strategy. (It usually involves writing the whole question into the search engine and whizzing through the first page of hits, whilst whining that “the answer isn’t on there, Miss.”) Of course, they don’t care because they just wanna play games and do social media.

      This is what “dumbing down” looks like today.

      • It’s not just kids that don’t know how to use search engines. Adults do the same thing with questions from quizzes.
        Searching online is a skill that takes practice, and requires a bit of comprehension of the question, a few synonyms, and strategies for narrowing down results.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    Attention deficit disorder declines with age. Maybe (just maybe 😈 ) Lprent is onto something.

    • Zorr 8.1

      Those studies are not about it “declining with age” but to do with ADHD continuing through to adulthood from childhood. The rate is approximately 60-70% as mentioned in the article but, as with any mental conditions, is dependent on interpretation by professionals.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1

        …regardless of definition, our analyses show that evidence for ADHD lessens with age.

        You were saying?

        • Zorr 8.1.1.1

          The next sentence…
          “More work is needed to determine if this reflects true remission of ADHD symptoms or is due to the developmental insensitivity of diagnostic criteria for the disorder”

          They are admitting that they only have correlation at best.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1

            I only said “maybe (just maybe)”… 😛

            • Zorr 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m going through the process of getting help with adult ADHD right now… so, I’m a little read up on current research 😉

              And it’s a little close to home

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Fair enuf. My bad.

                • Zorr

                  You had no way of knowing 🙂

                  When your first appointment is with a psychologist who has to believe in ADHD because he wants to remain employed but believes that medication isn’t an answer…

                  Yeah… it’s a fight just to get recognized.

  8. I expect that as people get older and slower it takes longer to read each page.
    There’s also the issue of falling asleep while reading 😆

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      hilarious…zzzzzzzzzz…uh, huh? What? Me, nod off??? 😈

    • Hateatea 9.2

      True, nodding off is sometimes a hazard while reading although not usually on this site 😉

      • lprent 9.2.1

        We usually get reports of ‘constant and excessive indignation’ rather than ‘nodding off’.

      • Anne 9.2.2

        I like reading at bedtime, but rarely get past 6 pages before I……………….

        It takes a lot longer to finish a book. 🙁

        • lprent 9.2.2.1

          Best book I ever had for sleeping was a history of the Dutch east india company from the 15th to 19th century. It outlined every seasons voyages, the cargo, and the sales. 2-3 pages and I was asleep. It lasted for several years….

    • Murray Rawshark 9.3

      And then my teeth drop out while I’m looking for my glasses…………..

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 10

    That this site has young people on it for five minutes is a tribute to the quality of the content on the site.

    Besides, the younguns probably comment less, hence the shorter time. After growing up in a tech heavy environment they already know how little expressing their opinion online matters …..older gens are slower learners in this regard *ducks for cover*

    Most importantly I think you have wrongly interpreted the information. The vast majority of website visits last in seconds and they never return. You are doing something very right when faced with a smorgasboard of porn, cute animals, and other left leaning sites people spend 5 – 9 mins of their time. Congrats are in order : )

    • Zorr 10.1

      Essentially what I said with my first comment Asleep

      And yes, it matters more that we do rather than say. There are more than enough older people around to tell us what we should be doing that the only way to beat them is to just go off and do… in the way that makes sense to us.

      Among my peers, I am seeing a continuing disengagement from all systems of power no matter the philosophy or creed.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        I think that political disengagement, if not inevitable, has a history that precedes any current situation. However, as people age, they gain more personal experience of the ways politics affects them and others. So they re-engage.

      • Scintilla 10.1.2

        “Among my peers, I am seeing a continuing disengagement from all systems of power no matter the philosophy or creed.”

        Any ideas on why that is?

        • Zorr 10.1.2.1

          I tend towards being alternative and a lot of my peers would probably be easily labelled “makers” and people who are more interested in smaller communities of like-minded people than larger engagement.

          We have no power and we know it. So we create our own spaces where we have our own power – even if it is just a degree of self determination.

          • Sacha 10.1.2.1.1

            That seems like a wise approach. I’m more impressed with Generation Zero, ActionStation, and a multitude of innovative focused local initiatives than with anything I’m seeing from mainstream national politics. Better return on personal involvement.

          • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.2.1.2

            We have no power and we know it. So we create our own spaces where we have our own power – even if it is just a degree of self determination.

            I should say, your ending remarks show your starting remark to be a touch hasty.

            The agency to promote and live in freedom that we have as small groups, and as individuals, is remarkable.

            True democracy is not about Wellington, and it certainly is not about voting.

            • Zorr 10.1.2.1.2.1

              Why? From my experience at this site, the commentariat tends to be older people with a vested interest in the broader Left movement. You, yourself, have stood as a potential Labour candidate in the past.

              This tends to be of little interest to a lot of my generation because our problems don’t break down over traditional “political philosophy” lines but much broader lines of “where can I get a job?” or “what does our future even look like?” or, even, “do you believe in science?”

              When you are stuck looking at a future that is controlled by the older generation who have infinitely greater resources than you, the traditional political models hold much less interest. It takes resources to be engaged – mental, emotional, physical – and, for those of us on the bottom, we just don’t have the energy. And when we do have the energy, we have more in common with right wingers of the same age who are worried about an answer to climate change or the anti-vaxx movement than we do with an older generation of privileged landowners.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                If you define power in the way that the 0.1% want you to define power: land, financial capital, money, material luxuries, wealthy contacts, then yes – 99% of people are short on power.

                Until you look at history. And realise that every single ruling elite has eventually been taken down a peg or three by very ordinary people who realised that both power and democracy was in their hands, and no others.

                Remember in many ways, the ruling elite of society are as utterly imprisoned by the system as everyone else is, albeit one could argue that their handcuffs are golden.

                Even in today’s uneven society, a communitarian and social approach to living and getting through each day represents an effective act of defiance against capitalist power.

              • Hateatea

                ‘privileged landowners’ – where? Who? Not commonly found amongst those who I would see in my cohort.

                People engage in politics more than they realise, I suspect but visiting blogs and reading political commentary in newspapers and magazines is probably symptomatic of the era in which I grew up which was pre television for the most part.

                I believe too that educational achievement, family involvement in flax roots or national politics, workplace union activity and societal issues play their part.

                My initial awareness was pre 1960 with my father’s reaction to the ‘Black Budget’ and family conversations re the exclusion of Maori from All Blacks teams to South Africa and accelerated through Vietnam war protests etc.

                There was also a huge influence from protest music coming from both local and international writers and singers.

                I am sure that each of us, if we reflected, would identify couple of events / stories /writings that sparked a bigger picture political interest. It is just that some come to it earlier than others and by many different paths

            • Sacha 10.1.2.1.2.2

              “True democracy is not about Wellington, and it certainly is not about voting.”

              So true. We over-emphasise national political mechanisms, and under-inform our fellow citizens about how local community and civic involvement counts. That was one of the rewarding things about local government work – helping connect a variety of community groups and NGOs to help coalesce and magnify their impact. Not a priority for this govt, naturally.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Absolutely…a lot of people were politicised and eventually recognised their power due to a rugby match, a smelter, a land occupation, a dam.

                Once you recognise your power, you can organise to achieve specific goals. Both in small ways and once you are able to, in large.

                The key is not to try and do this all alone.

    • Ad 10.2

      This site would be far more attractive with more clips of Labrador puppies.

  10. Colonial Rawshark 11

    So…how is it that September has 31 days?

    • lprent 11.1

      Good question. I was tired when I wrote this post last night. I plugged in the images today while an install was running.

  11. Hateatea 12

    A question, Lynn, which may or may not clarify things in my elderly brain but is a visit calculated by logging in or opening the site each time, doing a hard refresh or some other method? My practice is to have the site open on a tab all the time and only re-open after a re-boot. However, I do refresh if I have been elsewhere for a few minutes.

    I hope this is not considered a deviation from the matter at hand. 🙂

    • lprent 12.1

      The default is a page refresh or click into the site at least every 30 minutes continues a session/visit on both statcounter and analytics.

      Don’t click and the session ends.

      However it is quite different in results between differing counters.

  12. Macro 13

    I’m actually 18 but with 50 years experience. 🙂

  13. weka 14

    “For a start, analytics tells us that we have about a third of the readers on this site are woman.”

    Would love to know if that changes over time now that karol is no longer blogging here i.e. the difference between having a woman blogging most days alongsdie semi-regular women bloggers vs having semi-regular women bloggers only.

    • lprent 14.1

      I will let you know.

      Since April (when this set of demographics kicked in), the percentage has been 28.x% on page views and between 29% and 32% on sessions. Last month was 28.4% and 31.7%.

      No real change or trend line, but usually changes in TS are pretty gradual for author shifts since 2010.

  14. Scintilla 15

    This is a reply to Zorr at 10.1.2.1 – i hit the reply to that post but it seems to have dropped down to a new one. Oh well!
    I retrained late as a secondary school teacher and it has been illuminating going into teenage culture. It’s mind-blowing what some of these kids are dealing with at a personal level, some home/family situations that are incredibly unstable, complicated and full-on drama pits – makes you wonder how the kids ever get it together to keep coming to school. It was a surprise to me how awful some of it is and not uncommon either.

    It’s very striking that these kids know nothing else but the world as it’s been since 2000 say, and they have nothing to compare their often very small worlds with. That often the alternative visions are online ones and I’m unsure how much depth and substance those actually have as “possibilities for another kind of life.”

    The fact oldies can remember life pre-neolib crapola means we know life can be different. It’s not a matter of imagination. Developing imagination is getting pushed to the margins – contrary to what we’re always getting told are 21st century skills, like creativity and innovation – because it is time and energy-intensive. It needs incubation.

    I also think a sense of powerlessness is very pervasive these days no matter how old you are.

    * late reply, net connection playing up.

    • +1 insightful, and sad.

      I realise now, how lucky I was to grow up in the 70s, doing things most kids never do.

      Climbed trees, went for bike trips 20 miles from home, explored the mud flats, caught eels, hooned down hills on a go-kart. Ran around in bare feet for most of my school years, raided fruit from all round the neighborhood, learned how to chop wood, make a camp fire, fix stuff and build stuff. Got sun burned, eaten alive by mozzies, hives from too many feijoas, regularly covered in mud and filth, fell out of trees and scraped my knees a hundred times.

      I only watched TV for an hour a week max, the old black and white vacuum tube took ages to warm up, as did the stereogram. No video games, and yet somehow that terrible lack didn’t ruin my life. (I was also a huge bookworm)

      Maybe kids these days need to experience more of life, be exposed to danger and take risks. Not be obedient powerless drones (even though they might become super annoying to teachers)! It is better for brain development (so I hear) to have lots of adventures in real life, and to try lots of new things

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