Study teens, study the future

Pew’s latest study is a highly worthwhile read. FAMILY, FRIENDS & COMMUNITY examines teens and their use of social and personal media. If you can get your mind around this, it’s possible to see opportunities for local media companies.

Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.

Girls post pictures and write blogs; boys are into video sharing (sounds like a contemporary TV newsroom, huh?).

The survey found that content creation is not just about sharing creative output; it is also about participating in conversations fueled by that content. Nearly half (47%) of online teens have posted photos where others can see them, and 89% of those teens who post photos say that people comment on the images at least “some of the time.”

However, many teen content creators do not simply plaster their creative endeavors on the Web for anyone to view; many teens limit access to content that they share.

Let’s step back a minute and think about this for a minute. Two-thirds of online teens (59% of all teens) are creating their own “content” (to use a media term), many of whom are using it to originate conversations or discussions with others. Can anybody deny the reality that everybody’s a media company with this kind of data? Can anybody deny the ramifications to those who used to have this playing field to themselves?

key findings of Pew report

There is a significant opportunity for local media companies here and it’s not the tried and untrue “ad-supported content” model, whereby we “invite” people to share their content and “host” it on our big, branded portal websites (making “them” conform to “our” standards in the process).

Instead, we need to find ways to enable the advancement and growth of personal media in our communities by teaching, encouraging, growing and enabling everything about it. The Web is our platform, not just our little corner thereof.

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