The New Mobile Storytellers

In Millennial minds, the world is just waiting for them to record it. According to Ypulse’s research, 70% of Millennials say that they use their phone’s camera frequently, making it the third most used feature after messaging (91% use frequently) and phone calls (75% use frequently). It’s no secret that photo apps have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, with Instagram and Snapchat leading the pack. Millennials’ heavy use of their smart devices' cameras is about their increased reliance on visual communication using apps like these—but it is also about their desire to tell their stories to those around them. Their Instagram feed becomes a visual timeline and public journal that showcases not only the people, places, and things that fill their days, but, thanks to filters and comments, also their mood at the time. It’s the story of their lives. But their increased reliance on mobile video is making that storytelling even more advanced. Vine launched in early 2013, and an April Ypulse survey found that 4% of 14-18-year-olds were using the app—but by October the number had increased drastically to 19% for the same age group. A quick perusal of the most viral Vine stars shows just how creatively some Millennials are telling visual stories, even in short six-second clips. But not everyone can easily craft a story, even if they want to share one, and just as photo apps evolved to allow amateur users to look like pros thanks to a click of a filter, video apps are evolving to help Millennials be the storytellers they want to be. Whether documenting their own stories or creating new ones, thanks to some emerging apps and tools it is becoming easier than ever for them to express their creativity. Here are three of the most buzzed about apps in the visual storytelling space: 
 

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “The type of commercials that stick in my memory are the ones that make me evaluate my life.”—Female, 28, SD

To Millennials, being a geek is a good thing. Imgur’s research (conducted by Ypulse) reveals that 60% of Millennials consider themselves geeks or are into geeky things, compared to just 38% of Xers and Boomers, and the majority don’t believe the geek label is a bad thing. These Millennial geeks are trendsetters, politically and culturally engaged, and highly influential: 84% say people look to them for advice on a topic, compared to 60% of non-geeks, and 67% say they know about things before they go viral, compared to 48% of non-geeks. However, Millennial geek influencers are not easy to reach, with 76% using adblockers and 32% feeling like brands can’t relate to them. (AdweekMediaPost

Half of 12-18-year-olds feel they are addicted to their phones, according to Common Sense Media’s new poll. Although not enough research exists to define digital addiction currently, teens are clearly dependent on their devices: 80% say they check their phones hourly, and 72% said they feel a need to respond to text and social media messages immediately. Parents are in agreement, with 59% saying their children are addicted, and 36% saying they argue daily with their children over mobile use. The bright side is there are signs they are aware too much time on devices might be bad: 37% say they are very often or occasionally trying to cut down. (CNN)

BuzzFeed, which is producing 600 pieces of content daily, has grown their audience views from 2.8 billion monthly to 7 billion in the past year. They attribute their success to “truly understand[ing] what today's audiences want,” and being able to monitor reactions to content. They report that three quarters of their content is consumed outside of their actual site. Facebook is where they thrive: the social network contributes 33% of their views, more than their own platforms at 23%. Tasty, their food entertainment division, has become "its own BuzzFeed," averaging 360 million users monthly. (Adweek

Going viral is not always a good thing. Down to Lunch is a simple meet-up app inspired by “the experience of living in their freshman-year dorms,” connecting users with their contacts to facilitate lunch, “chill,” or “blaze” meet-ups. But as it began to gain traction, becoming “wildly popular college campuses,” fake reviews claiming the app was used for human trafficking also began to go viral—decreasing user growth by 90% over two days. The founders were able to fight the accusations, and the popular app peaked at  No.2 on iPhone download charts in April. (Business Insider)

According to The New York Times the future of journalism is virtual reality. At the NewFronts this week, the Times outlined their new digital strategy, concentrated on an R&D lab where journalists, technologists, and brands will create video series and 360-degree videos. Last year the publication delivered a million Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets to subscribers, leading to 600,000 downloads of their VR app, which they call “the leading mobile app for high quality VR content.” The company plans to cover the Olympic games in Rio, space exploration, and more in VR this year. (Fortune

Quote of the Day: “A wedding trend I have noticed is not having a photographer, and just having friends take all the pictures.”—Female, 18, CO

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