Responding To Kaiser's Generation M2 Study

Lots of chatter today around the study, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the finding that young people between the ages of eight and 18 devote just under eight hours a day to media consumption (which actually adds up to more like 11 hours of media content, if you take into account all the “media multitasking”). With hefty numbers like these and the rapid increase from the last time this study was conducted in 2004, it’s easy to spin negative a la USA Today and come up with provocative headlines like “Kids less happy as they’re more plugged into TV, music, Web?”

To the piece’s credit, it does use the question as a launching point for a slightly more nuanced discussion around (surprise) moderation and striking a balance between screens and real life, but with its overall cautionary tone, the repeated catch-all description of “media consumption” and “technology’  might as well be replaced with “junk food.” Overall it just struck me as a skewed way a looking at a much more multifaceted relationship between t(w)eens and media.

What’s missing is the flipside of this type of research. Both with the so-called “happiness/media” connection and its brush off of recent studies like Mediasnacker’s The Web Makes Me Feel and MTV Sticky’s Teen Age Clicks: Understanding Global Youth Culture, which cited music, TV and social networks as generating happiness and alleviating stress, and also with the far-reaching positive potential of new media.

MacArthur has also been funding lots of research about how all of this digital media is impacting learning whether formal or informal. Watching a show and then going to a fan forum and posting about it  or interacting with other viewers during the show online is much different than…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “There's been a resurgence in the home cook, and that's been my biggest interest. There's increasing amounts of high-quality, interesting produce and recipes to use.”—Male, 29 ,NC

Millennial moms are a coveted demographic for marketers, but are ads missing the mark when portraying them? A recent global study found that advertisers “may be overestimating the value women place on appearances during early motherhood:” only 30% of new mothers and pregnant women would use “beautiful” to describe themselves, but 63% say marketers have used the term to described people like them. These “airbrushed version[s] of motherhood,” could cost brands consumers, as six in 10 Millennial moms stating they rather see real moms in ads instead of actors. (Campaign US)

The financial crisis has triggered distrust between Millennials and financial institutions, negatively affecting traditional banks. At first glance the future of banks looks grim: 71% of Millennials would rather go to the dentist than to the bank, 73% are more interested in financial services from Google and Amazon than established banks, and 33% believed they won’t need banks in five years. However, banks have the opportunity to cater to Millennials by putting digital first: 74% say mobile banking is very important to them, and 40% said they rather communicate with banks via email and websites. (Avoka

When we asked Millennials and teens what would make them eat at McDonald’s, customization and variety was one theme we uncovered, and the chain is making changes to give them what they want. The brand’s new “Create Your Taste” effort uses touch-screen kiosks that allow for ordering one-of-kind burgers with “multiple bun options, specialty sauces, and unique toppings.” Presentation and quality are also on par with fast casual restaurants: burgers and fries are served in “trendy metal mesh basket[s],” and the ingredients are reportedly “of shockingly good quality.” The update is a continuation of McDonald’s turnaround plan, which introduced all-day breakfast last year and revived sales. (Business Insider

Brands looking to work with digital influencers should take note: There is actually a possibility of being too popular online. Once social media influencers reach a “critical mass” of followers, audience engagement begins decreasing, and continues to drop as their follower count rises. However, “micro-influencers,” or accounts that have a following between the 10,000-100,000 range, “get an average of two-to-five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers.” For these micro-influencers, sponsored posts take a back seat to their personal content, creating a more authentic tone—and they  may present a “sweet spot” for marketers. (Digiday

Obsessee is a media brand with no publication and no website, and it could be the future of magazines for Gen Z. The “fashion-focused digital entity” tailors content to each of the various platforms it lives on, which currently includes Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Spotify, Periscope and Google Plus. This native content multi-platform approach was conceived when research showed 14-22-year-olds avoid websites, prefer content on social media channels, and would rather get information from individuals instead of brands. Obsessee conversational, positive content targets Gen Z values: “approachability, inclusivity and authenticity.” (Fashionista

Quote of the Day: “I like shopping at Trader Joe’s, because it’s a fun alternative to the usual chain supermarkets to pick up specialty items that are tasty.”—Male, 33, MD

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