Teens and Changing Technology

Technology is in a constant state of change. The latest buzz has been about the unveiling of the iPhone 5. I saw a tweet today that said the Apple store is off-line as they update their stock. (It is off-line….I checked!) If you feel like you just can’t keep, welcome to the club.

In light of that, I thought a post on Doug Field’s blog was timely and informative.  In this entry. he talks with Jonathan McKee, a youth worker, speaker and author.  They discussed the changes in technology and social media and specifically how teens are using these various outlets.

Here’s a few of the questions and answers.  Thought their thoughts on texting and Twitter were interesting and worth watching.

DOUGI’m almost afraid to post something about technology, because it might be out of date by the time I hit POST. In your book The New Breed you talk about how much technology has shifted in the last 5 years alone. Give us a glimpse of some of these big changes.

JONATHAN: It’s even scarier talking about technology in a book, in fear that it will be out of date by the time the book goes to print. When the first edition of this book came out five years ago (which really isn’t too long ago), MySpace was still a social network contender. Now, most people chuckle when you mention the site (“It’s so three minutes ago!”). In the last 5 years…

MySpace has shriveled while Facebook has become the social networking powerhouse. As of the end of 2011, 93% of 12-17-year old social media users have Facebook pages, while only 24% have a MySpace.

Pinterest has proven to be a major player in the social networking scene, especially among women (I already have a page so I can see my daughter’s posts of her artwork).

•As texting and social networking grew, young people use email less. You know this if you’ve tried to email a kid—they don’t email back. Text them, you’ll get a response in 10 seconds.

Smartphone ownership crossed the 50% mark recently, with 55.5% of US subscribers now owning smartphones. 58% of 13-17-year olds now own a smart phone, compared to 36% last year, and 74% of 25-34 year-olds own smartphones, up from 59% last year (NielsenWire, 9/10/12). This increase has obviously boosted mobile browsing to new levels

•The time people spend on apps per day finally surpassed traditional web browsing. (TechCrunch)

DOUGSo, I hate being asked about the future, but I’ll ask you–what do you think is next?

JONATHAN: Wow, you’re asking me to go on a limb here. I usually don’t like to predict the future as much as provide a glimpse of what is current. I’ll push the envelope here a little bit and give two predictions based on recent changes:

Texting has hit its peak. I’m not saying that texting is dying… I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s simple, quick, easy… and fun. But Nielson’s teenage texting numbers actual dropped a notch in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time in years! Personally, I think this is because of the rise of smart-phone ownership, mentioned above. More young people can Facebook each other or Tweet. I think these alternatives will trim the edge off of texting. Texting will stay strong… but I think we’ve seen its peak.

Twitter is on the rise. In the past year I chuckled when people mentioned Twitter and Facebook in the same sentence. Over 90% of teenagers are on Facebook, and at last count, about 16% of online teenagers were on Twitter  (and 95% of American teenagers are online). But watch closely… that Twitter number is growing. Why? Young people are still TV addicts and they can only watch people like Howie Mandel on their favorite shows Tweeting their fans so many times before they think, “I’ve gotta get me that!!”

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