My Musings: Thoughts on Tweens and the Mashup (I want to go)

Posted on August 1, 2007. Filed under: conferences, Conferences of Interest, NYC, Tween, YPulse |

WidgetCon was fun, and even as I continue to roll around ideas and chew on all the commentary, I am looking forward to another conference that I have been excitedly monitoring: The YPulse Tween Mashup. Why? Because if you haven’t noticed, over the last few years there has been an onslaught of clever and at times insidious campaigns targeted at Tweens that hit them where they play the most: online and on their mobile devices.

My wildest dreams do not involve figuring out how to successfully sell things to children. If that is your dream, hey – dreams help you to get up in the morning. My dreams involve figuring out ways to accomplish everything on “the list” and making positive contributions in the lives of young people. I have a very strong interest in the ways that social media tools are transforming the adolescent experience and formation of identity. I feel a certain responsibility to understand how my actions, and the actions of any employer, are helping to empower (and screw up) teen spaces, online and off line. I am interested in learning more about how “big media” and “new media” brands are leveraging social media tools to reach their young audience, developing offline brand extensions, and reviewing real data on safety features and case studies. Why? Because when you care about your content, you should care about how it’s been shared, interpreted, and co-opted by your many audiences.

Tweens more than any other demographic strongly define their identities through their musical tastes, favorite clothing brands, books, movies, creative outlets, and (most importantly) by how others judge them. In their online worlds, they are at once afforded infinite freedom of expression while (when electing to participate in such sites) choosing to be constantly monitored. These kinds of contradictions are incredibly fascinating to me. (check out this compiled list of research on social network sites – Dana Boyd)

I want to know how all these parental controls effect their tastes/purchasing decisions, restrict/re-route their creativity, and what the long term effects of being constantly monitored could be.

But most importantly, I want to understand the tactics that companies are using to inspire brand loyalty in the Tween space, because eventually all these overstimulated young buyers, empowered to react and with endless information at their fingertips,  are going to snap and start some sort of revolution and I want to be one of the geezers they spare. A post MySpace sympathizer. 🙂 Joking, but not really.
About YPulse

Ypulse is the leading independent blog for teen/youth media and marketing professionals that has been featured is some of my favorite magazines such as Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and Forbes. Anastasia Goodstein, Publisher, recently completed a book about teens and technology called “Totally Wired,” published by St. Martin’s Press.

The Ypulse Tween Mashup will be held September 28 at the Javits Center in New York City in conjunction with Digital Life, a massive consumer electronics show. Here is the press release from Ypulse.

Here are some interesting quotes on the topic of marketing to Tweens/Teens:

– I may think some of these are disgusting but still worth noting

“Tweens are discerning consumers. They think a lot about what they are going to wear, whether their outfit matches their peach-sparkle nail polish, how clothes sit with a teal-colored cellphone (‘Can you believe Mom didn’t know what color teal is?’), what kind of sushi they are going to eat, and what to read after books like ’30 Guys in 30 Days.'” – from Roger Cohen’s New York Times OpEd “Twixt 8 and 12, the Tween”

“Teens are wired different than any another consumer group. They navigate through media clutter with a heightened “BS” meter to sniff out hidden advertising agendas. In a post-scarcity media world, there is no shortage of brands or media pipeline channels. Attention is the new scarcity. Loyalty, trust and affinity become the new pipeline.” – WhatTeensWant

The most important thing in a secret agent, says Groppe, is “that her peers trust her opinion. … We have to approve them. You know, important strategic business decisions are being made off of this 8-year-old and her friends, so we have to make sure she’s the right one.” – How marketing firm GIA uses young girls to sell products to their friends

…Youth Trends has also studied tween media consumption, and it found that 40% of those surveyed said that they think going on the Internet is better than watching TV. Slightly more girls than boys feel that way.emarketer on the topic of Tweens and Multitasking

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How the internet changed my Life.

Posted on February 11, 2007. Filed under: advice, industry, internship, NYC, Rachel Leibrock, tips |

I woke up very early this morning feeling pretty grateful for the life that I have so I wanted to share some thoughts…

My experience with the internet has been very interwined with my progression in my career. If it wasn’t for the internet, I can’t honestly say I would be in the place that I am right now.

I am sure everyone has a similar story, but here is mine in a nutshell:

In 2001 I was nineteen, had a “great” $30k+ job with a non profit with full health benefits, and was a miserable wreck. I hated the cubicle life. I felt like I *should* be grateful for what I had, and couldn’t understand why life seemed so pointless. So, through ’01-’02, I organized art and film festivals in my hometown of Sacramento, CA – using the internet to recruit volunteers, promote events, and research. I felt that if I couldn’t create something wonderful, then at the very least I could help to bring creative people together.

Through one of my first events, I met a writer for the Sacramento Bee by discovering a blog post that she had written, looking for local girls to profile who had gone to a certain event in San Francisco. I maintained a relationship with her over the internet, and she helped to promote my events by covering them in her nightlife column. Because of her help and encouragement, not only did more people show up to events held by the unknown Daniela and her possee, but her support inspired me to think of a life outside of my hometown. Inspiration – all made possible by a connection with a real person, through the internet. Thank you, Rachel Leibrock.

In 2003 I was working for a different company, feeling a different kind of misery. At this point I knew I wanted to find a way to support my self and be creative at the same time, but felt my options were limited in Sacramento. All through the summer of ’03, I researched major cities where I felt someone like me could thrive. I ended up deciding that NYC was the place to be, even if Los Angeles was closer. For some reason I felt this undeniable force driving me to uproot my life and relocate to the east coast. That December, I travelled alone to NYC and spent ten days wandering around Manhattan, getting a feel for me future new home. By August of ’04 I had sold everything I owned at several successful yard sales (advertising online), found an apartment in Brooklyn (through craigslist), found an internship with a casting director (through craigslist), and strategized ways to get around Manhattan (through In September of ’04 I moved to NYC, ready to start a new life pursuing my true goals.

… Since moving here, my life has changed in so many positive ways, and I have access to the internet to thank in part for many of my acheivements. I can’t give all credit to the internet as many of my opportunities were from the result of many old fashioned phone calls, knocking on doors, and showing up places and putting myself out there. Those things I had to stumble onto on my own, force my way into, ignore my fear and face in person.

But the internet also gave me access to the film/tv jobs area of craigslist,, variety careers, cynthia’s cynopsis, and other industry related websites that slowly increased my understanding of how a freelancer like me (which I suddenly realized I had become) could survive and thrive in NYC. I researched local film festivals through the internet, which is how I was able to volunteer at the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. Volunteering my time lead to meeting someone who believed in me, which lead to my first MTV gig as an Assistant Editor on “Miss Seventeen”. Many of my jobs came as a result of volunteering me time to the arts and being supported and encouraged by those who worked with me.

There was no manual I could follow when I came out here. I simply reminded myself of my goals, stuck with my plans, and trusted my instincts. I have helped others get jobs in the industry, and in the process I had the opportunity to meet amazing people in the industry like Mira Nair and Christine Vachon. While others saw their movies and read their books, I was able to talk to them and to be inspired by seeing them in the flesh – face to face.

I would never want the internet to become more important to me than what I experience when I walk out into the world, facing the day, not sure of what is to come but being excited about the possibilities. I am not interested in being holed up my room surfing the net. The internet is a huge part of my life and I will give credit where credit is due, but I don’t I would have gained the experiences I have so far if I solely relied on the internet for all of my needs. I do acknowledge that my “real” life is very much interwined with my “‘net” life and encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in media/film/tv to use all the resources available online to pursue their dreams.

However, if you can’t handle face to face rejection and hard times, you’d better learn. The internet isn’t going to show up on interviews for you, pay your bills, consol you, or be a magic wand.

It can however give you a door to walk through, which it has done for me and many others like me.

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Top Design teases my tired Ass.

Posted on February 1, 2007. Filed under: complaining, Grand Central Station, NYC, tips, Top Design |

I spent last night in Brooklyn, so coming into work I stumbled across the Top Design promotional subway layouts at Grand Central Station. I don’t know why, but somehow having to rush past several comfortable looking couches surrounded by mod furniture and interesting lighting to crush myself into a packed shuttle train really annoyed me. I didn’t see a single person taking the time to sit down on any of the seating that was taking up valuable walking space on the platforms. The couches only served as a painful morning reminder that I not only didn’t have time to brush my hair this morning, I also don’t have time to sit and rest – even on a couch that is two feet away from me. Sad.

…I really only wanted to complain about the crushing crowdedness of the Shuttle train weekday mornings, but rather than end this on a Debbie Downer note, here’s something rather cool:

 Imitating A Scanner Darkly (via ReBlog)

Using Illustrator’s pencil tool and shapes of solid color, you can imitate the graphic novel styling of A Scanner Darkly. An animator from the film shows us how.

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