The IM generation (A View From the AlwaysON Media NYC Conference)

News.com reports on the insights of the “Keeping the IM Generation’s Mindshare” panel from the AlwaysOn Media NYC conference.

“A crowd of advertisers, marketers, analysts and members of the press packed a ballroom at the midtown Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tuesday to hear a panel of new-media execs talk about how advertisers will have to change their modus operandi to reach young people whose lives are fueled by text messaging, MySpace.com, YouTube and a content-saturated Internet. ”

The Panel:

Highlights and insights:

  1. Verba: “The Internet is “the way they’re going to express themselves, the way they’re going to communicate, the way they’re going to buy things, the way they’re going to share things with their friends, and so on. I think it’s really a generational shift. It’s hard for us to think that way.”
  2. The panel: “Traditional media, from TV stations to advertisers to the print industry, really isn’t in touch with the “IM generation” of tech-savvy teenagers and college students.”
  3. McInerney: “I think the big thing is that you really can’t tell this generation how to use a product. Social-networking pioneer Friendster didn’t allow bands or businesses or different kinds of profiles to be created, and they really kind of forced user behavior, and when they did that, everybody kind of jumped to MySpace. MySpace was successful because it could be used differently by each user.”
  4. Verba: “They’re very, very quick to talk to you and tell you what they like and don’t like. (Piczo’s) users own us. We really don’t own them. They tell us every day what they want and what they don’t like. They’re very vocal…We don’t have to guess.”
  5. Starr: “the IM generation is probably sitting on the biggest access and level playing field that any creative generation’s ever had. However, if the playing field is really that level, it must have room for at least a handful of people over the age of 20.”

The conclusion: “It was apparent that traditional media tactics are going to have to change to meet the demands of the entire Internet, not just its younger users.”

What it means: yet another panel that talks about how we’re seeing a radical change in the way teenagers and young adults consume media. I discussed that topic in November in Web 2.0: Don’t be Caught by Surprise!

Boys and Girls Use Social Sites Differently

“Older teenage girls are far more likely than younger girls, or boys of any age, to use social-networking sites like MySpace or Facebook, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends. “Older boys are much more expansive in their use of the sites,” said Amanda Lenhart, one of the study’s two authors. “I believe that it has a lot to do with socialization. A lot of the media messages about safety tend to be aimed more at girls than boys.”

Other highlights:

  • 55% of online teens have created a personal profile online, and 55% have used social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.
  • 48% of teens visit social networking websites daily or more often; 26% visit once a day, 22% visit several times a day.
  • 91% of all social networking teens say they use the sites to stay in touch with friends they see frequently, while 82% use the sites to stay in touch with friends they rarely see in person.
  • 72% of all social networking teens use the sites to make plans with friends; 49% use the sites to make new friends.
  • 85% of teens who have created an online profile say the profile they use or update most often is on MySpace, while 7% update a profile on Facebook. Another 1% tend to a primary profile on Xanga. Smaller numbers told us they have profiles at places like Yahoo, Piczo, Gaiaonline and Tagged.com.

Via the New York Times & Pew Internet (.pdf)

What it means:

  1. Reach & Critical mass: a majority of teenagers use social networking sites
  2. Frequency & Stickiness: almost 50% of users visit the sites every day
  3. Relationships: most teenagers will use the social networking sites to stay in touch with their friends
  4. Planning: 72% use the sites to make plans with friends (possibly which movie they want to see, which restaurant they should meet, at which friend’s house do they meet, etc.) Lots of potential local conversations!