what teens want

As expected, this morning I am definitely more chipper, despite waking up randomly out of a sound sleep at 4 am. Habit from the cats? Who can say? But I got back to sleep, and woke up with the glorious! spring sun. Altho, OMG the cold. I thought my fingertips were going to freeze off riding over here.

Now powering up with coffee (free thanks to a gift from a co-worker) in prep for the first session of the day. It’s a panel of teens talking about what they want/do online, including with the phones.

Ugh. why so many paper handouts? First an eval form, then someone from the panel organizer with fliers for a conference they’re running.  Whyyyyyyyy? (I had this same issue at the last neighborhood assoc. meeting, btw. Instead of letting people pass stuff out through the audience, I had them all put their fliers & sign-up sheets at the back of the room with the coffee & cookies. Just seemed more appropriate.)

These teens are from Akins New Tech High and some college prep school. So are they representative?

Favorite sites from all the teens: goodreads.com (get good info about books to read); myspace & facebook (create your own layout, communicate with friends & family after school, how she communicates with sis — not mom!); again myspace & facebook, digg (stay updated), news for gamers (big on counterstrike); myspace (mic not on!) (she’s 12 IRL, 16 on myspace); myspace, mixmatters (?) and another mixtape website; “I do not have a myspace” seventeen.com (not quite happy, doesn’t quite tell how to do hairstyles), hipster.com (?) (make your own playlist); myspace (talk to people), moonscape (RPG, chat all over the world, make new friends).

annoyances: distracted by popups. general nodding that ads are annoying. “every time I play (ESPN?) video, miller ad. got really annoying.”

I can’t hear what she just said.

“when you have to see an ad before you get to the next page” or with sound. “obviously it’s bogus”

“when it takes 6000 years to load because there’s so much crap to load” (video ads in particular) also, she’s taken a web design class.

2 on facebook, all but one on myspace.

“when I first got a myspace, I was checking it every minute; once I added all my friends there’s nothing else to do.”

“they keep on updating things to try & make it better, and they don’t need to” (!) (mmm, teenage sarcasm!)

“myspace is kinda like email” (sez the moderator)

got email so he could get “a myspace” and now uses it for registering for anything. otherwise, would be using parents email.

email to talk to sis out of state, to teachers asking for homework.

smackdown on her generations writing skills “teacher must love you”

“I used IM when I was younger.” nice.

“don’t have internet on my phone, too expensive” plays a lot of Tetris. 🙂

has blackberry, gets SAT question of the day in email on phone. plays Pac-Man, has lots of ringtones, but gets them from other phones.

has an emergency-only phone.

older sprint phone “in 4 pieces in my pocket right now” only really cares about phones & texting, plus “emergency games, in case I’m bored out of my mind”

again with the pac-man!

paid for her phone herself, and pays for her own plan, limits her texting. sounds like she’s really cost-consious, knows exactly how much every feature costs. but uses the camera a lot.

nobody watches video, except one person who makes her own.

those who’ve had phones a while couldn’t live w/out. guy with super-fancy phone has only had for a week, could probably live w/out.

avatars? virtual? runescape. xbox live.

interesting point about “pay-to-play” vs. something like counterstrike. used to play gaia (?) — but I’m in high school now. (even tho apparently that site positions itself as for teens)

yahoo avatar — play with hairstyles. 🙂

“degrassi”?! omg, watching that online. heh.

opening for questions at the mic.

“we’re trying to sell things to you.” entered a contest with your own photo/video? air jordan commercial on youtube. “when you interact with something somebody’s trying to sell you, makes you feel like you have a little bit of a say.” respect more? “I know that it’s hard to get people to buy stuff” 🙂

substantive content? (news, causes) one guy is really into digg, keep up to date about the war. interested in the presidential contest, keeps up via Google, YouTube. wikipedia? some nods, some no head-shaking. the onion! gets into the articles via the headline. a different angle, more than “this is happening.” also visits human rights campaign website. no CNN, etc.

can you affect changes online? (someone from PETA?) doesn’t remember the site, but something with donating rice to Africa. “hid the cause inside a game” school class doing heifer, growing veggies to sell & then donating the money. bhopal  incident (! jeebus, was she even alive when that happened?) donating money. a lot of people “don’t want to do something physical.” oy.

from disney online: watching shows on tv or computer? foreign dramas (on some long URL that I didn’t catch). abc family, learning channel, watch them online. used to watch disney channel on her phone, now just tv & online. if he misses an episode of the boondocks, can go online & find the season, click on episode.

more about favorite shows: wrestling, anime, telenovelas. (true story: my sis used

“anti-marketing” — “projects designed to stop marketing on the internet” what do you think? “it’s always going to be there, right? to help fund the website?” if it didn’t work, would back down. “ads should go with what you’re going to.” anybody seen the futurama where they broadcast ads to fry’s sleep? “I don’t want it to be like that.” “in some places, and not in some places” would join a project to eliminate pop-ups. (specifically. huh.)

missed the question. something from an ad agency. addicted to “shoot the money” type games. totally disinterested in “fun” stuff, unless there’s a reward that matters to them. (xbox points.)

little online games? finishing work early @school (same addicted guy); also, a parent’s computer too old, too slow. if at school if “flash isn’t blocked.” and they all know how to unblock

“do any of y’all (incl audience) go outside?” basketball team, job, junior counselor at summer camp.

make plans? texting. in person at school. in person or on phone. phone, except those who need to be texted, myspace doesn’t work because you don’t know when people will get on.

what don’t marketers get about the web? if you could have a greater say, would you welcome it more?  (oh man, the questions are super-incoherent. I wonder if people are using this as an alternative to doing their own damn focus groups, etc.)

my thoughts? many teens have financial restrictions, and that means that they are restricted on what they can do with phones in particular, because (as I have kvetched about before) everything costs too damn much! popup ads are teh devil! (no sh!t sherlock.) and kids are kids. they all reminded me in one way or another of people I knew in high school, even tho that was 15+ years ago. and teens are more explicit about WIIFM (what’s in it for me?), I suppose because they can be?

I’m not sure (yet) what this means for my recent work project. (and it just occurred to me that maybe I should also consider if this has any implication for the ENA, but that’s a thought for another day.)

as far as mobile banking goes, it’s a reasonable reminder, amidst all the early adopter nerd hype, that web for phones is still crazy expensive. otoh, should we be thinking about doing it now so we shake out the bugs before it gets to be popular? ::sigh:: that all depends on the carriers, as far as I can tell.