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Content, strategy and creating value in a digital world

Twitter is rubbish, say teens (kind of)

Much media excitement today about a report published by Morgan Stanley into how teenagers consume media. It’s already hit the front page of the FT, and guardian.co.uk.

Why?

Well, mainly because it contains a verbatim report written by a 15-year-old intern.

Given the level of interest, you’d think that this was the first time the industry has been offered some cogent insights from a teenager.

Or perhaps they’re giving it so much airtime because he’s apparently sounding the death knell of traditional media.

Either way, one has to wonder at the value of it, given that it is qualitative research from a single viewpoint. Let’s not burn the presses just yet, eh?

That said, there are a couple of interesting insights:

1. Teenagers do not use Twitter
“Most have signed up to the service, but then just leave it as they release [sic] that they are not going to update it.”

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how Twitter is shaping up.

It’s rapidly emerging as a means of direct broadcasting by celebrities, rather than as a way to update friend networks (which is what Facebook is used for).

This is being driven by the media increasingly quoting celebrity Twitter feeds in lieu of comment (see how Liz Taylor used it to comment on her absence at Jacko’s funeral?).

Very soon teenagers will use Twitter as a means of receiving, not broadcasting information, skipping out the traditional media.

2. Teenagers do not read newspapers because they do not have the time and can’t be bothered to read pages and pages of text
Now these are two very different reasons. And at the risk of sounding a decade older than I am, let me just say “A teenager with no time? I doubt it.”

Nevertheless a not unexpected, but quite depressing outloook for the intelligent press.

Then again, how many of today’s serious newspaper readers were reading pages and pages of text in their teenage years?

I don’t believe that the content is the problem. I think that teenagers are not the core market of these publications. But what old media should be worried about, is how they are to attract today’s teenagers to their content when they become the serious newspaper readers of tomorrow.

Clearly it’s about digital, but perhaps it’s also about presenting curated or aggregated content and comment.

3. Gaming is starting to replace phones as a means of voice and text conversation.
This is interesting, worth watching and bearing this in mind for a couple of clients.

You can read the full report here: http://media.ft.com/cms/c3852b2e-6f9a-11de-bfc5-00144feabdc0.pdf

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