“Teenagers do not use Twitter,” declares Matthew Robson, teenage market analyst and sudden media guru.
Pause for collective gasp.
Everyone in the news media is flocking to Twitter and other social media platforms in a panicked effort to retain their relevance in the youth market. Meanwhile, Chris Anderson and other “free” business model advocates are getting slammed for conjuring a business model out of thin air. Enter a 15 year-old Morgan Stanley analyst (well, intern, but still 15) who has turned the discussion on its head this weekend with “one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen,” according to Morgan Stanley Team leader Edward Hill-Wood.
Robson’s report makes the point that not only do teenagers not want to pay to use any media, but they don’t even want to pay for the text message used to send a single update to their many profiles. They realize that no one is looking at their various social media profiles and no one really cares about what they are doing all day (except, apparently, Morgan Stanley).
Furthermore, teenagers “cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text” to get their news; they are very busy and need you to summarize it for them online or on television. Meanwhile, they are content to chat with their friends using video game consoles. I’m just extrapolating here, but if they cannot be far enough away from their video game consoles even to chat online, that could explain why they don’t have time to read anything.
Oh, and by the way, advertising is “extremely annoying and pointless,” even online. So, don’t try to pull that over on them either. Pretty much anything that makes money to support your content and is not part of a video game is a no-go with the teens.
Maybe Nicholas Kristof has jumped on the right bandwagon with the video games as news idea.
Mr. Robson’s report has been published by Morgan Stanley for use by its clients and spotlighted on the front page of the Financial Times this morning. Well, OBVI!!! What else would you do with a report written by a teenage boy drawing conclusions from a study done with no rigorous research standards ?
Certainly, the teen perspective is not to be ignored by a news industry desperate for their disordered attention, but maybe we should at least invest in our own PG-13 version of this study before we start catering to the fleeting fancy of youth.Diana Dellamere is a former CJR staff writer.