During the Web 2.0 conference
last week there was a panel with teenagers, mostly 17. The transcript is here
. Now we must be careful to read too much into this as these are 5 kids from the Bay Area and probably are not representative of an entire generation, but these to me are the highlights:
Q: What are your online habits?
Diamond: stays on phone, spends couple hundred dollars a month on ringtones and games
A couple of hundred a month on ringtones? Ouch!
Q: Who has an iPod?
3 of 5 have ipods .
The guy from Nokia at Reboot in Copenhagen would have continued to ask if they kept it in their trouser pockets or in their bags. To see if these were truly treated as mobile devices or not. He said Steve Jobs biggest problem is that iPods are not carried around in peoples pockets like their keys, handkerchiefs and since a couple of years a mobile phone.
And while we are discussing iPods and thus music:
Sasha: I have 10 paid songs out of 1500 on my iPod .
The most revealing comment in the transcript to me was this one:
Q: Let’s say you want to buy a CD player, where would you go?
Sean: ummm, a CD player…? (laughter)
Having CDs, and records or tapes or eighttracks is when I think of it a symptom of an age where information was scarce. Thus it was interesting if not vitally important to have the actual information carrier in your posession. We went to classmates homes to listen to records that we didn’t have ourselves. Now in the age of information abundance, it becomes futile to want to posess the actual carrier with data, or have the actual file stored. There would be simply to much to have. It is more important to have a (shifting) collection of pointers to stuff that might be of use or interest combined with the certainty that it will be out there when you want to access it. Are children intuitively moving away from owning information, in this case music? I think I can see something like that in my own behaviour as well. I used to buy a CD to try it out, now I only buy CDs when I already know the music from on-line listening. It’s an easy way to get a physical info carrier for the car, the stereo etc. It’s certainly no longer the journey of discovery that buying a vinyl album was when I was in my teens, when all you really knew of an album were the single releases and the rumors about those who had the album already.
Q: Do you use TiVo or Skype?
TiVo: “it’s too much money.”
Skype: Silence. [Ed: there goes eBay’s investment.]
Another interesting remark, in this case on Skype. In the comments of the transcript it is pointed out however that most Skype users are outside the US anyway. Maybe something is at play here like in the nineties. At a point when it was already common to ask people to switch of their mobiles in meetings here in Europe, American participants were astonished that we all carried such devices when they still carried beepers. The uptake of different technologies in different countries and continents varies.
A last quote on IM-ing:
Q: What more do you want out of instant messenger?
Sean: “Just that: instant messenger.”
Q: would you like to see video on IM?
Sean: Ummm, no, i’m trying to talk to my friends…! (applause)
I guess Keep It Simple Stupid still holds true across the generations.
And now a first attempt of including an ad in a blog posting: