Tips, tools, and best practices for B2B marketers.

Want to understand what all the fuss over “social media” is about? Ask a teenager.

For those of you over 30 and especially anyone in their 40's, it's a totally different world out there when it comes to being social. The web has radically changed how the younger generation interacts with each other. Today's teen doesn't know a world without the Internet, IM, or cell phones. Heck, they can barely remember not having iPods, Flickr, and MySpace.

They're wired, and wired to each other 24x7. Communications is liquid, flowing from one source to another, creating connections based on likes, dislikes, music, movies, unicorns, you name it. 

Some stats...

  • 93% of American teens use the Internet compared to 70% of American adults.
  • 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the Internet.
  • 55% of online teens ages 12-17 have created a profile on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace.
  • And my favorite, teenagers think email "is for old people" (according to a study by The Pew Trusts).

I started playing around with social media a couple years ago when I create a Facebook page (contrary to my kids believing I was stalking them online, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about). It changes how you think.  It makes communications more fluid and timeless. But I know that I'm still not thinking about social media the same way they do, because they don't have to "think" about it - it's just part of who they are.

So if you want a glimpse into their heads, just ask them to tell you about what they do online all day (and night). Or better yet, watch their reactions when you explain what a busy signal is (was), or talk about a time when there wasn't call waiting, voice mail, cell phones, or instant messaging.


I am curious how teens will react over the next year or two as more and more of their parents enter their social media circle.

Is having your parent in your social media circle akin to them hanging around in your “real world” social circle?

Personally, I think Facebook may be on the verge of loosing its luster among teens. Only time will tell. The Washington Post put out this insightful article over the weekend which shows that at the very least, the concern among teens is growing.

Neil, I agree that as more “adults” spend time on Facebook, a new forum will evolve for teens.  One where they don’t have to answer questions like, “Don’t you have a wall?” or “Why can’t I see any of your photos?”

The other thing I’ll be interested in seeing in a few years is what happens when all these wired teens end up in the workplace.

My 19 year old daughter is a hard core Facebook fanatic. Facebook has become her primary means of communicating with her friends, though for all intents and purposes it’s really a vehicle to share pictures of the latest parties she and her college buddies go to.

She told me that she tried to not access Facebook to see how long she could go - turns out 1 and 1/2 days is her limit before she had to log in to see what was happening.

I do believe that Neil is correct though; given the audience that Facebook has and the way they are changing it to enhance the service and revenue they bring in, it will start to decline in the near future.

Oh and for the record, my daughter would not accept my invitation to be on her friend’s list. She said there are pictures in there that I should not see. Kind of like her dorm room - better to imagine everything is neat and tidy.

Dave, I agree that it’s probably best not to know (and see) everything. 

I wonder whether the “wired” teens of today will change their “social” behavior (and profiles) as they enter the workforce. 

I’ll be interested to see if our daughters attempt to clean up their profile (or delete them altogether) once they start looking for jobs.

Stay tuned…

...speaking of which.  Check out MarketingProfs main post.  All about exposing yourself online, privacy, and how it might affect your reputation.

I think a level of this has been taking place for years. Even 2 years ago when I was beginning my transition into the “real world” my facebook page underwent a large transition. And while I don’t know that any employer needed visuals of my nights out, the question becomes how much should be edited/removed etc.

Are employers that are screening via facebook using it as a means to get a glimpse of the applicant’s personality or as a way to supplemental background check? Does Dave’s idea about parent’s needing to imagine their children’s rooms as neat and tidy relate to employers and prospective (or current) employees?

I think social media web sites will be a moot point. It’ll all be on phones within the next year or so for early adopters and everyone within three.

Zuckerberg held a Q&A;at SWSW the other day and was asked about being able to selectively create different profile aspects for different people/groups. He danced around the question, but recognized the issue in general.

And in general, online reputation management for both individuals and companies is a growth industry.

Unicorns play a bigger role in social media than I bet you ever thought.

@Lee - Stories like this are bound to make our kids rethink what they leave in Facebook.

As a Public Service Announcement of sorts to my children I pass links like that one out to my daughter in college.

Man, I hope she’s reading them.

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