Notes from talk–The Real Deal: How Young Adults Spend Their Time Online

So I gave my talk at the American Press Institute Seminar on the Millennial Generation: 18-35.
Talk was entitled The Real Deal: How Young Adults Spend Their Time Online– from RSS and SMS to peer-to-peer file sharing, find out how newspapers can tap into the new information networks, and the audience was about 40 newspaper editors and one online news producer.
Here’s a summary of the ideas I presented and some links:

  • First of all, most people under 35 think of themselves differently in terms of identity and affiliation than their counterparts did 20 years ago.
  • Specifically, people identify less with their town or region, and more with affiliate groups or tribes–their college or fraternity for example, or NASCAR, or their mother’s group.
  • This is partly because everyone moves more often, but it is also because emerging technology supports offline/online relationships.
  • What this means for newspapers, is not only do they not control a region through dominating distribution, but there is a rise in DIY (do it yourself) media that is taking attention away from traditional media products.
  • In other words, when people can blog, share photos, plan outings, share music and music playlists, meet friends of friends and share ideas and notes online, not to mention remixes, videos, recipes, knitting patterns, home theatre plans, and so on, the attention that 18-34 year olds (and lots of other people I know) have to give to newspapers and other big media becomes greatly diminished (and then there’s all that cable TV they’re watching, as well…)
  • And then there are the trading and transactional communities, and the local news blogs, and…

So I showed them the following and talked about them as examples of categories and behaviors.:
(Note: this was a sophisticated crew of American and Canadian editors, but most of them were unfamiliar with most of these sites and services)

I also touched on tagging and how it’s a form of user-generated content and content management.
We had good discussions during the talk, with some of the following points/questions coming up:

  • As print editors, what is the best way to bring this into our newspaper?
  • Do we need to have a writer who focuses on digital media and can find the best bloggers etc to point to?
  • Is it appropriate to find local bloggers and include/quote them in the paper?
  • If yes, what are the liability issues?
  • Aren’t bloggers more liberal and unreliable that reporters? In other words, if we link to them, will our more conservative readers be outraged?

Any thoughts or comments? Email smernit at aol dot com and I will post them.