Web 2.0: What do teens want?

Chris Caceres · October 22, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/b67

A panel of teenagers sat on stage to discuss social networking, search, digital music and more

 Teens know best?

Over at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, O'Reilly and Techweb decided to bring on stage five teenagers to find out their views on current stage of the Internet.  The teens ranged in ages from 15-18.

Social Networking. The teens unanimously agreed the "coolest thing they do online these days is Facebook."  When asked, what about Twitter, all the teens knocked it agreeing, "what's the point of saying, I'm sitting in the living room right now."  Nobody mentioned MySpace.

So why is Facebook better than other social networks for these teens?  First of all it's taken over chat.  With Facebook's ability to instant message one another, the teens found no further need for other clients like Skype or iChat.  Second, the teens also agreed games and Facebook apps were another key reason they love the social network.

Safa Rashtchy, who led the panel then surprised the crowd of teenagers asking, "What if Facebook started charging a buck for its service?"  Most responded saying they wouldn't pay and they would find another free way to do the same thing on the Web.  "It's not that its un-cool to pay for things on the Web, but why pay if I can get it somewhere else on the Web.  It's troublesome."

Search. Jumping to the topic of Search, all but one said they use Google as their number one search site.  One of the panelists said they prefer Yahoo! because it supplies him with the results he is looking for.  When asked about Bing, everybody had heard of it but never really used it. 

Online Ads. In terms of advertisements on Google all agreed that they usually never click on the ads.

E-Commerce. On the topic of e-commerce all the panelists said they had made purchases on Amazon.com but weren't fans of shipping and handling costs.  They actually viewed the shipping costs as a deterrent to making purchases, even if prices were less expensive.  

$100 dollars. When asked what would you do with $100 dollars, the teens said they would either spend it on clothes, used CDs to support their favorite artists (not new ones or digital ones), and books.

Cellphones and SMS.  The male teens agreed they preferred to text message each other rather talk on the phone.  But the females said if they were going to ask someone out on a date they preferred to talk on the phone.  Humorously, the teens joked they would never date somebody who had an email address @yahoo.com.

Online video.  All the teens agreed they viewed Hulu and YouTube. Hulu is more limited to them but they still liked it because you could watch more episodes.

What do you wish you could have on mobile phones? They are annoyed by the iPhone's Internet limitations, the fact the Internet is 'slow.'  

Television. The teens said they'd rather watch their favorite television shows on the Internet.  One even said he hasn't watched TV in two years.  In terms of what they watch or how they pick what they watch the teenagers said they search for videos based on what their "current mood" is.  So if they were happy, they'd search for comedy and watch whatever comes up - doesn't necessarily have to be a particular show.  

When I'm 25 years old..."I will be traveling," "I will have a job," "Five years away from being a doctor," "Five years away from being an accomplished artist."

News.  Most of the teens all agreed they get their news online from news sites, blogs and YouTube.  One said he read the actual print version of the San Francisco Chronicle.  While one joked that some random man screams the headlines out his window every morning when he wakes up.

The teenagers received a loud ovation from the crowd on Thursday.



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