Teens Not Into Twitter, TV, Radio, or Newspapers

Interesting story at Read Write Web on teens and what they are into these days. Begs the question on how best to serve this demographic.

"Matthew Robson, a 15-year-old intern at analyst firm Morgan Stanley recently helped compile a report about teenage media habits. Overnight, his findings have become a sensation...which goes to show that people are either obsessed with what "the kids" are into or there's a distinctive lack of research being done on this demographics' media use. Robson's report isn't even based on any sort of statistical analysis, just good ol' fashioned teenage honesty. And what was it that he said to cause all this attention? Only that teens aren't into traditional media (think TV, radio, newspapers) and yet they're eschewing some new media, too, including sites like Twitter."

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Anecdata: The gift that keeps on giving.

No matter how often you, I, others say it, "the plural of anecdote is not data" needs to be said more often. I'm using the term "anecdata" for stuff that's analyzed as data, presented as data, but is essentially multiple anecdotes...which covers a LOT.

The best reply to this article

is the one that came over my Twitter feed.

http://strange.corante.com/2009/07/13/the-plural-of-anecdote-is-not-data

Dead on, in my opinion.

so if I want to make mone from teens, ...

I need to start a company like PayPal that bills the mobile phone plan. Teens want to buy stuff, but don't have the money. If I can get them to run up huge debt (after I change the laws to make them responsible for it), I can create a labor force who works virtually for free because they are paying off old debt. We need to lower the age limits and give credit to 13-yr-olds.

But mostly, the report tells me that teens want all the perks of being adults, but with the zero responsibility of being children.

How reliable is this report?

The text of this report is available online at http://media.ft.com/cms/c3852b2e-6f9a-11de-bfc5-00144feabdc0.pdf

So far as I can see, it's a well-written picture of how this one young man and his friends spend their online and tv/movie/videogame time. I'd give it about the same weight as when I asked our 20-year-old student-worker how he and his friends used Twitter -- a well-presented view of how one particular person uses this form of media and how he thinks his friends use it.

The report appears to concern only British teenagers, although it never actually says so. There are some rather sweeping statements made about their access to new media -- I was left wondering how many of these conclusions really apply to all British teenagers and how many apply mainly to urban affluent middle class teens. (For a look at what one researcher has found about some ways class affects the use of social media by American teenagers, see "The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online" by dana boyd - http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/PDF2009.html )

No sources are given for the data that led to such conclusions as "99% of teenagers have a mobile phone...the general view is that Sony Ericsson phones are superior..." or "nearly every teenager has access to a basic computer with Internet...nearly all teenagers' computers have Microsoft Office installed..." I was left wondering if he simply asked his friends about this, if he surveyed his school, if he did some research on the web...I think he probably did a combination of these things, but there is no way to tell.

As the Financial Times introduction says, this report provides some "interesting insights." To think that anyone might base financial or institutional decisions on it seems rather appalling.

Mmmm

a 15 year old intern at Morgan Stanley. He represents the youth of today I'm sure.

"Robson's report isn't even based on any sort of statistical analysis"

So of no actual use then! His opinion is worth as much (or less really) than anyone elses.

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