Keynote Roundtable: You Don’t Know Jack! Teens Speak Out

Or maybe it’s called A Day in the Life of Millennials. That’s what the title card says. Oh Ad:Tech, why are you so inconsistent?

As people flee the room (no, really, it’s weird. Are they scared of young people?) Samantha Skey (Alloy Media + Marketing) is going to moderate our roundtable discussion today. I have to tell you, I’m interested in what these mystery teens are going to say but I’m dreading blogging it. If these kids talk like my 16 year old cousins, my fingers are going to fall off.

In case you were wondering a millennial is 12-24 years old [Did you just start feeling incredibly old? I did – Lisa]. There are 54 million of them. 10.5 million of them are in college. 1 in 5 are non-white. They have a lot of money. Lots of it. They say they’re family oriented and close with their parents. Really? Man, kids these days.

They’re also very self confident. 59% say that they know they’re not perfect but there isn’t much they’d change about themselves. They’ll pursue their dreams no matter what the cost. They’re used to customization, mobility, connectivity, visibility and value. They’re very into self-portraiture.

In other words, they’re kids. God, I’m old. Someone get me a walker.

We hear you need to be invited into the circle and accepted before you can engage them. [Like high school!] Okay, lady, get to the kids, we’re short on time here.

Right to left and I apologize for any misspellings, they don’t get their names on the slide. Not cool.

Vijay – High school student in the Valley, would keep his cell phone if all other modes of media were removed.
Anastasia – JCHS, computer.
Josie – Sophomore, couldn’t live without her cell phone. Her skirt is adorable. [Ask her where she bought it! – Lisa]
Steven – UC Berkeley, couldn’t live without his computer
Jewel – San Francisco State, computer

Stephanie calls them all smart and ridiculously over-educated. And she’s still talking. Ask them something!

They’re often doing three things at once. It doesn’t really deplete their attention but it does need to be very efficient.

And now time for a short video.

What do you think about watching shows online?

Vijay: Usually I watch shows online if I miss it or if I’m bored. There’s so much Simpsons that I haven’t seen. [Hee! – Lisa]

Steven: I usually watch it on the Internet. No commercials, free, convenient.

Anastasia: Doesn’t watch if very often. Does for the same reason as Steven. It’s a lot more usable.

Steven: Hulu shows the same ad the whole episode, I get bored but I do remember the commercial. I don’t tend to remember it favorably.

Jewel: I usually watch it as a break from the program.

They’ll all avoid the ads if they can but they understand that it’s necessary.

60% of young people say that if they could move their media onto one device, they would. Agree or disagree?

Vijay: Definitely agrees. The convenience would be great (and you can watch during class when you’re bored.).

Do you use any social networks?

V: Facebook

Ana: Yes, but she would eliminate them if she could. She can’t because of the social responsibility.

Josie: Yes, Facebook and a non-profit community

Steven: Facebook, used to have a Myspace

Jewel: MySpace mostly, has a Facebook

Online Gaming?

Steven: Scrabulous. Has friends on World of Warcraft.

Jewel: Her friends are into Xbox and Playstation online.

Josie: Doesn’t play games online, but is obsessed with Tetris. (whoo!)

Online avatar?

Vijay: Was big on it in middle school, in high school didn’t have time for it anymore.
Anastasia: Was into WoW but she can’t afford it.

How do you feel about ads in your social network experience?
Steven: Too many ads is why he left MySpace. On Facebook the advertising is more subtle and he appreciates that.

Anastasia: The subtlety is very important. If there’s a value, it’s okay.

Josie: It gets a little annoying but they are trying to make it helpful. I never click on it because I’m afraid it’ll lead to a virus.

Any ads on your cell phone?

Jewel: Has gotten some, usually ignores them. Doesn’t like having to opt out.

Vijay: Really annoying when you get them. Understands if he’s asked to be contacted. Wants it to be relevant.

[A little video about]

What does the idea of social responsibility mean to you?

Anastasia: loves, sent it to her friends.

Josie: is very into charities online. Wants to see that she’s helping. She likes Some people like doing it because it’s helping with SATs and some because it’s fun. She likes it because it’s helping.

Steven: Recognizes the broad appeal. Between playing a game that’s meant for nothing and one that donates to a good cause, he’ll totally pick the cause.

They all say that’d donate over getting something for themselves if they were given a choice. Oh sure they say that in front of a crowd.

Steven says that if he gets something it just feels like he’s buying into advertising. He’d rather support a good cause.

Are you more likely to believe a company is doing a good thing?

Anastasia: if it’s a reputable name/large brand. The others generally agree.
Steven points out that people start companies to make a profit so he would want to know what the angle is.

Who do you perceive as being socially or eco friendly.

Steven: Chevron is environmentally conscious.

Anastasia: EnergyStar

Josie: She doesn’t know if she believes that Chevron is eco friendly what with the oil. She thinks you can make choices that are eco friendly without sacrificing quality.

Jewel: Starbucks–they do it for the company but they also do composting which is good. [I think the composting is a local thing.] She preaches composting for a while.

Vijay: Bill Gates and Microsoft, Warren Buffet.

They tend to hear it word of mouth, personal experience. At the source.

Sam points out that there isn’t a lot of deep dive research in that. They take it at face value, based on what they see and hear.

What makes something viral? [Video time!] What makes you pass something along?

Anastasia: Is it legit? Is it something I support or funny?

Vijay: Have to check first to make sure it’s okay and not dangerous.

They all do a filter check first.

Steven: Reputable source, it’s not always humor, it’s originality.
Josie: Humor, something enjoyable. She’ll pass on deals that she gets. 25% off deals. Socially responsible things.

<>What is the most important component of your online identity and how would you like to enhance that?

Steven: It matters to find people. I miss the courses application on Facebook. I’d like to see all the silly useless applications go away. That’s why MySpace died (died!), it got too pimped out.

Anastasia: Photos are the most important, and the ability to tag things. She’d also get rid of the applications.

Vijay: Photos. He’d change the ability to spam out mass invites.

Are you receptive to sponsorships on things you want?

Jewel: Yes, totally, if it’s a value proposition.

Josie: There are a lot of things that aren’t positive and that takes away from what is positive. She only likes ads for things that are for a greater good. Like That’s an ad she does like and she found that on Facebook. (She has 600 Facebook friends.) Diet tips aren’t of interest. [Give her a few years for that metabolism to slow down. They will be. – Lisa]

Anastasia: She feels like a lot of the causes are self-aggrandizing rather than being helpful. If they did something that would be better.

Any last words?

Josie: I really, really dislike it when people try to become hip and cool. Usually you’re not. Don’t use kewl. Do you think I’m five years old? Don’t patronize.

Steven: I’m concerned by the idea that one device idea. There’s a reason I keep it separate.

Anastasia: She understands that marketing has to happen but if it is, it should support something good.


What fears are you confronting with digital media?

Anastasia: She had a picture of a sunset on Photobucket used on a porn site. Privacy is paramount.

Steven: MySpace had a clause that anything posted was their copyright, we had to take everything down.

Josie: She’s been sexually solicited too so she tries to keep thing private as she can.

What makes you trust a Web site?

Josie: Nothing. It’s on the Internet, it’s going to come up. But you use it anyway because it’s addicting.

Vijay: Big sites, I’ll trust it. If it’s a small site, I would be more skeptical. I’d check it out, check for a scam, virus, skimmers.

Have they changed their behaviors as a security measure? All nod.

Jewel: I’m aware of how I portray myself out there. I wouldn’t put up a picture of me partying. Maybe reading a book.

Oooh, they get presents! $100 for iTunes and a $100 cash.

Nice panel.

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

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