Millenial folks and IT Consumption
There is very good article in the NYT about how millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000 now in their early to mid-20's) deal with current technology: A generation serves notice: It's a moving target by Tom Zeller Jr. The paper begins by explaining the importance of the Internet for this generation ("For Mr. Hanson, even his new job is an Internet-based, media-intensive labor informed by feedback") and the corollary topic is then:
The number of vehicles through which young people find entertainment and information (and one another) makes them a moving target for anyone hoping to capture their attention. (...) advertising and short videos for mobile phones, for instance, cell networks with dedicated game channels, and $1.99 TV programs to download to iPods and PC's.
What is very relevant is the qualitative trends the article describes:
"We think that the single largest differentiator in this generation from previous generations is the social network that is people's lives, the part of it that technology enables," said Jack McKenzie, a senior vice president of a market research and consulting firm specializing in the news media and entertainment industries. (...) "What's hard to measure, and what we're trying to measure," Mr. McKenzie continued, "is the impact of groupthink, of group mentality, and the tendency of what we might call the democratization of social interaction and how that changes this generation's relationship with almost everything they come in contact with." (...) And as the millennials diverge from their elders in their media choices, so do the ways in which they can be reached and influenced. (...) The preceding generation may have thought that e-mail, newsgroups, Web forums and even online chats accelerated the word-of-mouth phenomenon. They did. But they are nothing compared with the always-live electronic dialogue among millions of teenagers and 20-somethings. "What we're seeing is a whole different relationship with marketing and advertising which obviously has ripple effects through the entire economy, For the millennials, he said, "reliance and trust in nontraditional sources - meaning everyday people, their friends, their networks, the network they've created around them - has a much greater influence on their behaviors than traditional advertising.", Magid calls it the peer-to-group phenomenon, "When someone wants to share it, forward it, record it, take a picture of it, whatever the case may be, that puts it into a form of currency," Mr. McKenzie said. "And when marketing gets to a level of currency, then it has achieved nirvana status.""
Eventually, the author brings out some concerns about "the group-mentality dynamics that the Internet and the instant-message age may be fostering." as it can prevent some of them from developing as individuals (e.f. think and plan for the long term) and of-course the dangers of being "always-on" (To really unplug would be to risk being swept aside by a virtual torrent of information - or, worse, being forgotten.)
The whole article is very insightful and would be a good examplification of how certain people around here behave ;)
Update! The last report of the PEW Internet and American life project is about this issue. Get the PDF and see that "Internet users ages 12 to 28 years old have embraced the online applications that enable communicative, creative, and social uses. Older users are more likely to engage in online activities that require some capital: travel reservations and online banking. ".