Teenagers

…It’s How You Use It

Not A Pretty Librarian has kicked things off well with a first post titled “It Is Not A Tool,” covering an argument about which has more value to a teenager: a car or a computer.

On one side is the notion that “She can’t drive herself to work with a computer.” While, on the other side is the growing likelihood that she won’t drive to work at all, but instead simply work at whatever computer she has available. But then, this is a teenager, and maybe practical matters like work don’t top the list. And that’s where Not A Pretty Librarian (who are you?) asks:

Can you imagine being nineteen right now without computer access?

Indeed, when college students are spending so much time on AIM and logging into Facebook daily, is a car really as important as a computer in a teenager’s social life? When 89 percent of students start their research in a search engine, isn’t the computer more important than a car to get to the library?

Internet, Interactivity, & Youth

Jenny Levine alerted me to the Pew Internet & American Life Project report on teens as both content creators and consumers.

It turns out that teens, and teen girls especially, are highly active online IMing, sharing photos, blogging, reading and commenting on other’s blogs, and gaming. An especially strong trend in this group is the use of web technologies for collaboration. Interactivity, increasingly, is being defined by the teen’s ability to ask questions, comment, or contribute. Take a look at this quote, (found via this BBC report):

These teens would say that the companies that want to provide them entertainment and knowledge should think of their relationship with teens as one where they are in a conversational partnership, rather than in a strict producer-consumer, arms-length relationship.

Jenny calls this the “4Cs,” for conversation, community, commons, and collaboration. Clearly, services that allow those 4Cs are preferred over those that don’t. Competitively, where do you stand? How well have you embraced the 4Cs in your online services.