Generation C thrive on Social Expression

I was recently quoted as part of a Myspace survey done on how different generations interact with social media.  The press coverage  was  here and here

This is the article which ran in The Age on the 26th June 2010

BABY boomers are better online networkers than their Generation X counterparts, a poll of Australian MySpace users has revealed.

Often thought to be flailing in a world of 21st-century networking, Baby Boomers, aged 46 to 64, boast more online friends than the average Gen X (31 to 45), the survey of about 1½ million people revealed.

The results were formulated using self-expressed data taken from the MySpace accounts of users across the country. But it comes as no surprise to youth strategist Dan Pankraz, who says it reflects a broader cultural trend that he terms ”the rise and rise of Generation C or The Connected Collective”.

// ”Unlike Gen Y (14 to 30) or Gen X, Generation C are not an age cohort but a collective mindset of digital natives,” Mr Pankraz said in a statement.

”Gen C-ers of all ages, whether they are 14 or 41, share a need for social expression, and social media has turbo-charged their ability to express themselves in real time.”

Digital Natives: good with tech skills, weak with face to face skills?

Just came across an interesting article in the NY Times ‘Antisocial Networking’ about the debate over the effect of technology/mobiles and social media on the relationships between todays kids.

Although the topic is being widely studied by childhood relationship psychologists, there clearly hasn’t been any long term studies.  It’s an important thing for us to understand as good close relationships during childhood are essential in allowing kids to develop their emotions. I wrote a post last year about the mobile phone being used as a ‘social shield’ to protect kids from kids they don’t want to engage with (eg: they pretend they’re talking to someone when clearly they’re not). The many teens I’ve spoken to talk about their biggest fear is that they’re seen as a social outcast, and that the mobile phone is essential ‘oxygen’ to keep them connected to what’s going on and help them belong to the tribe.

Some interesting points from the post:

-Pew Research Center found that 50% of US teens (12-17yrs) send over 50 texts a day and 33% send over 100 texts a day

54% said they text their friends once a day, but only 33% said they talk to their friends face to face every day

The hypotheses in questions over technology’s impact on kids’ friendships/communication skills:

–          Whether the quality of their interactions are being diminished without the intimacy and emotional give and take of regular, extended face to face time?

–          Is technology making teens less interested in face to face communication with their friends?

–          Todays youth may be missing out on experiences that help them develop empathy, understand emotional nuances and read social cues like facial expressions..after all, they say 80% of communication is non verbal

However on the flip side, many believe that technology is bring kids closer than ever

–          Keeps kids connected to other kids around the clock

–          The impersonal nature of texting and social networking makes it easier for shy kids to connect with others

As marketers who aim to create tribal following around our ideas in culture, we must ensure that when we’re engaging with young people, we’re bringing them together and connecting in both the digital and real world,  as social media is on’y interesting to teens because of what happens when you’re out and about.

The 10 Rules a ‘Pouting Princess’ lives by

My friend Ju Ju help put this together. The essential list PP’s live by

1) It’s not about what you know, but who you know.
2) Make sure you only befriend good looking people
3) Hold your opinions lightly – try not to jar with the common consensus of the click
4) Participate in Facebook (heavily), upload at least 10 pics a week – it improves your ego stroking skills
5) Preach perfection and financial success – the global recession is just a matter of attitude
6) If there’s No door list, it’s not an option
7) Always Appear to have money
8) Education is not of the academic kind, but rather the label kind.
9) Bikinis and heels are the new summer dress code
10) Keep a balanced lifestyle – a coke bender on Friday night, Bikram Yoga and herbal tea on Saturday

Youth Marketing Rule #1: Listen to your fans, then react.

The best youth brands keep their fingers on the pulse and listen to what their fans are saying about them in the digital space. Whether it be following blogs, creating profiles on social networking sites, you have to know what people are saying about you right now. Quarterly tracking studies are useless. In late 2008, EA Sports captivated its community by creating an ad which was in direct response to a youtube video created by a gamer. ‘Levinator 25’ claimed there was a ‘glitch’ in the Tiger Woods 09 Walk on Water video game. A week after the video was posted by Levinator highlighting the apparent glitch, EA came out with a video featuring Tiger Woods walking on water and hitting the ‘Jesus shot’, the ad ends by saying ‘It wasn’t a glitch, he’s just that good’ . The video has been viewed over 3 million times on youtube and the game has gone on to be a massive seller with no media budget. The ability to be flexible and adapt your message quickly is a key tenet of successful engagement.