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Teens Don’t Twitter–No Surprise

July 15, 2009
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The big news on Yahoo Tech is that a 15 year-old wrote a report  to Morgan Stanley execs that apparently surprised them when the teen wrote that his friends don’t read the newspaper and don’t Twitter:

As for Robson’s report, well … the kid didn’t mince words. “Teenagers do not use Twitter” (as quoted by the Guardian). Why? Because updating Twitter on your phone counts as a text message, and teens would rather use their texts to ping friends than update a Twitter profile “that no one is viewing,” Robson writes.

He goes on, dissing newspapers because teens “cannot be bothered” to read physical pages when they can get the condensed version online or on the tube. As for banner ads on the Web? “Extremely annoying and pointless,” Robson observes (according to the Guardian). By the same token, Robson says teenagers are “very reluctant” to pony up for tunes, preferring to stream or share them for free.

What surprises me more is that anyone would assume that teenagers did do these things.  Teenagers don’t have the same resources at their disposal as adults–in order to pay for things on-line, they either have to have an adult’s credit card and/or pose as being over 18.  Most teenagers have “tech limits” set by their parents:  cell phone minute limits, texting minutes, computer time limits, etc.  Teenagers may grow into on-line spending habits, as I know many shop for shoes on-line, look for books on-line, and search for services on-line.  I know I also do all those things.  I only look in a phone book if I don’t have my laptop out, but otherwise, I can find things faster on-line.

I don’t buy from banner ads because they always seem like scams.  Maybe teenagers are a lot different, but why would they be?  they grew up on technology, just like my generation.  They are fairly savvy as to the gimmicks used on-line,  just as most recognize that when a stranger pulls up and offers them money that it’s a bad idea to accept.

Twitter is a generational social interface, most used by people who have the money and access to be on-line enough to tell everyone what they are doing.  Most of the time teenagers want to fly below the radar with adults, and I have even heard of teens trying to limit their parents’ access their Facebook pages, hence the “sexting” by cell phones.

And, as far as reading newspapers?  Well, they’re disappearing, and they have to be paid for:  read the whole segment about borrowing credit cards.  Besides, even though I expect as much from small-town MI, I get news much faster, as in minutes ago published, on-line.  Why buy the paper when I can get my news for free?  Now, I am old-school enough to read the paper anytime one is left around, but it’s mainly a review for me.

Perhaps these execs should realize that teenagers will be their next caregivers and pay attention to what they say, but isn’t that every teen’s dream anyhow?

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