How High School-Age Millennials Use Digital: 8 Key Insights

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To challenge and enrich our current understanding of how different cohorts use the social web and mobile, we’ve taken a closer look at high school-age Millennials as the second in a series of studies. We conducted this study with two sets of high school students and are pleased to share our topline findings in this info bite. We hope you enjoy.

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How High School-Age Millennials Use Digital: 8 Key Insights

  1. 1. How High School-Age Millennials Use Digital: 8 Key Insights October 2010
  2. 2. As the social web, mobile, and other Internet-connected devices have risen in prominence we have been interested in their impact on people’s behaviors, attitudes, needs, and expectations (all of which comprise what we call NetspectationsTM ). We have studied people’s use of the Internet all over the world since the early days of the Internet (call it 1994), and the new social paradigm is absolutely fascinating to us. We’ve done lots of client-specific studies and read countless survey-related data over the years. But given our insatiable desire to understand consumer motivations and expectations, we had to know more. And who better to help us understand the “social technology” space than high school and college students? They have been raised on digital (so-called Digital Natives). The Internet has been part of their entire conscious lifetimes. We’ve taken a closer look at this group outside the context of our normal client work to challenge and enrich our current understanding of their use of the social web and mobile. We began with college students (results published separately) and continued with a second study focusing on high school students (the focus of these findings). For this second study we had two sets of high school aged students come into our innovation space to talk to us in-depth about their Internet-related activities and attitudes. We will continue to publish topline findings as we explore this topic further. Hope you enjoy. Timestamp Activity Nature Outcome Device Website/Application Notes Audience Website/application type 6/4/2010 8:00 Created blackberry group for friends who commute with me (four of seven including me have blackberrys) Communication Group created succesfully blackberry Blackberry messenger Friends App 6/4/2010 9:04 Launched Gmail Communication Yes work pc Gmail kept open all day as a background Self Website 6/4/2010 9:07 Launched AIM Work yes work pc AIM Goodman&Company communication Co-Workers App 6/4/2010 9:08 Launched Outlook Work Yes work pc MSFT Outlook Goodman&Company Emails Self App 6/4/2010 9:10 opened wall street journal online Entertainment yes work pc wsj.com scanned the daily paper Self Website 6/4/2010 9:42 Googled "top 3 online advertisers" Work Unable to find what I wanted, scanned first page results, opened first link work pc google.com personal research abt MSFT Self Website 6/4/2010 9:44 googled "top 3 ad networks" Work Answered the question i asked, but that was the wrong question to ask, found the ad network listing work pc google.com personal research abt MSFT Self Website 6/4/2010 9:50 wikipedia'd "sql" Work read article on SQL, yes work pc wikipedia.com personal research abt MSFT, refresh myself on how SQL functions Self Website 6/4/2010 9:56 Read "Why CIOs are Last Among Equals" Work yes work pc MSFT Outlook to wsj.com received email link Self App 6/4/2010 10:27 Read "On the Go and Hungry? Dinner Is an App Away" Work yes work pc MSFT Outlook to nytimes.com Self App 6/4/2010 10:45 Created LSE filter on gmail to apply LSE label to all incoming emails School Yes work pc Gmail Self Website 6/4/2010 10:48 Checked and deleted spam email Communication yes work pc Gmail Self Website 6/4/2010 12:49 Read a bbc article from latest headlines from firefox Entertainment yes work pc bbc.co.uk used firefox's "latest headlines" tab to read the article Self Website 6/4/2010 13:54 Checking location of an eatery News/Information yes Blackberry Google Maps Found it Self App 6/4/2010 15:31 Research horizontal and vertical ad networks Work yes work pc google.com looked at several top hits Self Website 6/4/2010 16:56 checked address on google maps News/Information yes work pc maps.google.com Self Website 6/4/2010 19:35 Called problem customer Work Yes arranged shipping of stored box blackberry Blackberry Customer Phone 6/4/2010 21:48 Watched an episode of Chuck Entertainment Yes persona mac sidereel.com sidereel.com directed me to hulu.com Self Website 6/4/2010 22:14 Facebook Entertainment yes personal mac facebook.com same time as watching the show Self Website 6/4/2010 22:56 Got a call from friend telling me he was outside to pick me up Communication Yes blackberry blackberry Friends phone 6/5/2010 13:09 Compared and double checked employee pay schedule spreadsheet using my version and another owners version based on website backend data Work Slight variations in hours rounding up/down, minor confusion with flat rate pay days personal mac Microsoft Excel Took around 40 minutes Co-Workers App 6/5/2010 15:03 Facebook Entertainment yes personal mac facebook.com Self Website 6/5/2010 22:00 Used XMradio for music Entertainment yes XMintegrated unit (in my house) XMradio Used for a party Friends App 6/6/2010 12:12 Read about soccer News/Information yes personal mac goal.com Self Website 6/6/2010 14:54 Watched two episodes of Chuck Entertainment yes personal mac sidereel.com sidereel.com directed me to hulu.com, but sidereel was my main portal Self Website 6/6/2010 17:29 Conference call using skype Work Yes personal mac Skype Utrucking owner conference call Co-Workers App Timestamp Activity Nature Outcome Device Website/Application Notes Audience Website/application type 6/4/2010 7:30 Checking weather News/Information Yes iPhone Weather Channel Checked the weather before I left for work to decide what I was going to wearSelf Application 6/4/2010 7:45 Facebook Entertainment I had no intended task. Just extra time.Mac laptop facebook.com I spent 10 minutes on facebook before I left for work. I looked thorugh my news feed which prompted me to click on some of my "friends"Self Website 6/4/2010 7:55 Looking up CVS News/Information Yes Mac laptop google.com I need to located the closest CVS to Columbus Circle.Self Website 6/4/2010 8:30 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iPhone Words with Friends I currently have 6 scrabble games in progress. Two are with family members and four are with friends. I don't respond to the games instantly, but when I have time.Family and FriendsApplication 6/4/2010 9:04 Logged on AIM Work and CommunicationAIMstays open during the work day. PC laptop AIM I don't usually initiate conversation on AIMand only use it for work. I used to use AIMwhen I was younger but now have found other ways of communication.Coworkers, Family and FriendsApplication 6/4/2010 9:05 Logged onto Outlook Work Yes, outlook stays on all day PC laptop Microsoft Outlook This acts as both my work calendar and e-mail.Coworkers Application 6/4/2010 9:07 Working on project Work Yes PC laptop Groove I stay logged onto Groove all day and look for relevant information on my project.Self Application 6/4/2010 18:45 Reading Newspaper News/Information Yes iPhone New York Times Read the headlines while waiting for a friend.Self Application 6/4/2010 18:48 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iPhone Words with Friends Continued my games with three friendsFriends Application 6/4/2010 18:50 Directions News/Information Yes iPhone Hop Stop Trying to find the closest subway stop to get back to my dormSelf Application 6/4/2010 19:30 Finding a place to eat dinner News/Information No iPhone Urban Spoon Was trying to look up a restaurant to eat dinner at. My phone was not giving me a quick enough answer so I proceeded to use my laptop.Self Application 6/4/2010 19:35 Trying to find a place to eat dinnerNews/Information Yes Macbook yelp.com Spent about 20 minutes finding a place to eat dinner in the uptown area.Self Website 6/4/2010 19:40 Facebook Entertainment Yes Macbook facebook.com Was showing a friend pictures of my brothers prom, I also proceeded to spend longer on the site then intended.Self Website 6/4/2010 21:24 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iPhone Words with Friends Showed a friend the Words with Friends Application for the iPhone. She downloaded the app and we start to play a game via the iPhone for the rest of the night. Even though we weFriends and FamilyApplication 6/4/2010 23:26 Checking the Weather News/Information Yes iPhone The Weather Channel Checking the weather for the weekend so I would know what to pack.Self Application 6/5/2010 0:28 Facebook Entertainment Yes iPhone Facebook My friend and I were both on our iPhones looking at facebook right before we went to bed.Self Application 6/5/2010 0:30 Looking up train schedules News/Information Yes Macbook www.mta.info/mnr/ Looked up train schedules to CT for the following day. Tried to buy tickets online but they don't ship for 2-3 days so I just made a note to arrive at the station a little early.Self Website 6/5/2010 8:00 Looking up a breakfast restaurantNews/Information Yes yelp.com Macbook Looked up a breakfast place that I heard was good. I also took note of other breakfast places that showed up on the page to try later.Self Website 6/5/2010 8:10 Checked the weather News/Information Yes iPhone The Weather Channel Checked the weather for the weekend, even though I checked it the night before.Self Application 6/5/2010 8:33 Getting directions News/Information Yes iPhone Maps Used "walking directions" to get to the breakfast place I wanted to try.Self Application 6/5/2010 9:35 Checking my bank statement News/Information Yes iPhone Bank of America Before I paid for breakfast, I used the application to make sure I had enough money in my checking account, if I didn't I would of transferred money from my savings to checking. MySelf Application 6/5/2010 9:36 Locating a starbucks News/Information Yes iPhone Starbucks Got directions to a Starbucks nearby by using my "current location". My friend downloaded the Starbucks app after she saw I had it.Self Application 6/5/2010 9:37 Directions News/Information No iPhone Hop Stop Tried to get subway directions from my current location but we asked someone for directions and they turned out to be different from what the app was telling us to do.Self Application 6/5/2010 10:00 Directions News/Information Yes iPhone Maps Used "walking directions" to find the CS by Columbus Circle.Self Application 6/5/2010 10:30 Directions News/Information No iPhone Hop Stop Was trying to get to Grand Central Station but the subway directions kept changing so I eventually just asked someone at the station for directions.Self Application 6/5/2010 11:30 Facebook Entertainment Yes iphone facebook Was on a train so decide to browse facebook, did not have a specific reason for going on.Self Application 6/5/2010 12:44 Facebook Entertainment Yes iphone facebook Updated my status to say, "going to Taylor Swift concert tonight with my roommates!". This way if anyone else was going to the same concert we may be able to see each other.Friends Application 6/5/2010 1:46 Directions News/Information Yes iphone Maps Used the application to get direction to a friends house while on the highway. The driver already had written directions, but i used them to see how long it would take us to get therSelf Application 6/5/2010 3:47 Checking the weather News/Information Yes iphone weather channel Continued to check the weather on the way to the concert because we heard on the radio that thunderstorms were a possibility.Self Application 6/5/2010 3:48 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Played Scrabble with one of my friends in the car but also friends who were far away. I noticed that my friend and I were not talking to the driver much when we were playing.Friends Application 6/5/2010 5:00 Facebook Communication Yes iphone Facebook Checked my news feed to see if anyone else was going to the concert. Proceeded to text one of my friends who I saw was going.Friends Application 6/5/2010 7:50 Facebook Entertainment Yes iphone facebook Showed my friends a kid's facebook profile who we saw at the concert.Friends Application 6/6/2010 1:52 Checked train schedules News/Information Yes iphone amtrak.com Double-checked my train reservation for the following day.Self Website 6/6/2010 9:59 Checked my trains status. News/Information Yes iphone amtrak.com I tried to download the Amtrak application, but it wasn't free so I just used safari. We were in a rush to get to the train station and on the way there I checked my status and realizedSelf Website 6/6/2010 10:00 Directions News/Information Yes iphone maps There was a detour on the way to the train station so I looked up directions on my phone so we could find an alternate route. I was checking my train status at the same time.Friends Application 6/6/2010 11:00 Facebook Entertainment Yes iphone facebook Checked facebook while waiting at the train station.Self Application 6/6/2010 11:45 Looked up bus schedule News/Information Yes iphone boltbus.com Was checking to see if there was a later bus than the one I had booked. But all the buses were sold out.Self Website 6/6/2010 11:15 Checked train status News/Information Yes iphone amtrak.com I continued to check my train's status even though I was already at the train station.Self Website 6/6/2010 11:47 Checked the weather News/Information Yes iphone Weather Channel Checked the weather for Boston to see what it would be like for my brother's graduation and to see what I should plan on wearing.Self Application 6/6/2010 11:50 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Played Scrabble with three friends while I was on the train.Friends Application 6/7/2010 14:15 Words with friends Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Played Scrabble while I was at my brother's graduation.Friends Application 6/6/2010 16:07 Facebook Entertainment Yes iphone facebook Checked facebook while I had some free time.Friends Application 6/6/2010 16:30 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Played separate games of Scrabble with my dad and brother even though we were all in the same room.Family 6/6/2010 19:40 Facebook Communication Yes macbook facebook Updated my status on the bus back to new york saying, "back to NYC". I also browsed facebook but it was very slow so I eventually switched to my iphone.Friends Website 6/6/2010 20:12 Watching TV Entertainment No Macbook hulu.com Tried to watch "modern family" on the bus on a friend's laptop. The internet was too slow and would not load so we ended up watching a movie on his itunes instead.Self Website 6/6/2010 21:12 Watching a movie Entertainment Yes Mac laptop itunes Watched a movie on the bus through itunes on a friends computer.Self Application 6/6/2010 23:13 Looking up traffic report News/Information No iphone google.com Tried to find out why we were stopped on the highway. I could not find any relevant information on my phone.Self Website 6/6/2010 23:14 Traffic report News/Information Yes Macbook google.com Found out that there was a deadly accident on I-84 which closed the highway. Therefore we were stuck in traffic. I told the other people on the bus around me.Self Website 6/6/2010 23:15 Directions News/Information Yes iphone maps Tried to find out how far I was from NYC by using my current location.Self Application 6/6/2010 23:17 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Introduced my friend to the application and we played scrabble against each other while sitting next to each other on the bus. I also played with friends from far away. I currently haFriends Application 6/6/2010 23:30 Browsing the web News/Information no Macbook N/A A friend was showing me a website that you can order food from and then have it delivered. We were going to order food from the bus so it would be delivered to his apartment bySelf Website 6/7/2010 2:13 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Updated all of my Scrabble games before I went to bed.Friends Application 6/7/2010 2:15 Facebook Communication Yes facebook facebook A friend wrote on my wall asking how long I would be in NYC, so I responded and asked her if she would be here during that time. She responded less than an hour later telling me wFriends Application 6/7/2010 7:45 Checked the weather News/Information Yes iphone Weather Channel Checked the weather on the way to workSelf Application 6/7/2010 8:45 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Updated my Scrabble games in Starbucks before work.Friends Application 6/7/2010 8:50 Reading the newspaper News/Information Yes iphone New York Times Scanned the headlines of today's paper and found a relevant article to this current project. Proceeded to forward the article to everyone on the project.Self Application 6/7/2010 9:00 Opened Outlook Communication Yes PC laptop Microsoft Outlook Will keep outlook open all day during workCoworkers Application 6/7/2010 10:25 AIM Communication Yes PC laptop AIM Will keep AIMopen all day during workCoworkers Application 6/7/2010 20:18 Facebook Communication yes macbook facebook.com responded to a thread that my roommates from school and I use to keep in touch over the summer. Also read a message that a friend text me about. And wrote on a friend's wall askFriends Website 6/8/2010 7:45 Checking Weather News/Information Yes iphone Weather Channel Daily routine of checking the weatherSelf Application 6/8/2010 8:45 Scrabble Entertainment Yes iphone Words with Friends Currently have 8 games going, played for 15 minutes before work.Friends Application 6/8/2010 9:31 Reading Newspaper News/Information Yes iphone New York Times Read the headlines. Also looked at the technology section to see if there was anything interesting relating to the digital diary.Self Application 6/8/2010 11:34 Directions News/Information Yes PC laptop yelp.com Looked up a market close to where I am living. Looked at reviews and got directions.Self Website 2
  3. 3. Twitter ≠ Love None of the study participants are actively on Twitter and – unlike their college counterparts – they don’t even have dormant accounts None of their friends are on Twitter; they don’t see the purpose, using words such as “unnecessary” and “annoying” when describing how they feel about Twitter 1 3
  4. 4. Facebook is “always on” Facebook has assumed a vital role in communicating and staying in touch with friends; it is organically woven into the fabric of their lives; they gravitate to it without even thinking about it Although Facebook is always up on their PCs, running in the background, they still have positive emotions towards the network, some listed it as their “favorite” site 2 4
  5. 5. Having the latest phone is not a necessity They do not covet the latest phone and most of them do not have smartphones yet When asked to identify the next digital device they were going to purchase, most indicated a laptop instead of an iPhone 3 5
  6. 6. They use advanced tools for communication, task completion and entertainment Even though they don’t use cutting-edge Smartphones, they do use cutting edge tools such as Flickr, Evernote, Stumble Upon, Google reader and Tumblr 4 6
  7. 7. They self-regulate their Internet usage All participants agreed that they “feel too connected” and that they “spend too much time on line wasting time”; the Internet (Facebook in particular) can be all-consuming Some mentioned apps that can selectively block certain sites like facebook that they apply when they need to be productive There is a conscious effort to disconnect from the Internet when things need to get done, such as school work and college applications 5 7
  8. 8. Internet privacy is focused more on security rather than personal information Cautious of and cognizant about online privacy and security around social security numbers and credit card information; this may stem from the fact they all are using their parent’s credit cards to buy things online They all recognize that Facebook displays their personal information, but they think of this more as a value exchange (i.e., I give you my information but you allow me to stay in touch with my friends); they don’t extensively try to manipulate privacy settings for greater security of their information 6 8
  9. 9. They are in control of when and how they consume their entertainment content The television is not the primary device for watching TV: Laptop is primary device for watching network / cable content because it allows for time-shifting, which is very common (e.g., Hulu) A main reason cited for time-shifting is the ability to socially consume it with friends, either online (chatting while watching) or offline (viewing it together) 7 9
  10. 10. Natural constraints accompany their life stage Limited access to the Internet because they’re in school all day Limited capacity to purchase latest gadgets since they are largely supported financially by their parents Lack of exposure to emerging / cutting-edge use cases (e.g., QR codes, GPS) limits their known use cases 8 10
  11. 11. Within these thematic findings exists a diversity of digital behaviors among high school - age Millennials; they cannot be generalized into a single, neatly-defined segment. More so than their college counterparts, they exhibit NetspectationsTM that are different from older cohorts (e.g., willingness to share personal information, ability to time-shift consumption of TV content). However, there are some similarities, particularly around Internet security concerns (e.g., credit card and social security information) and recognition of the negative impact of spending too much time online. From speaking to two distinct sets of Millennials (high school and college students), we found that some habits of high schoolers seem more aligned with older generations, e.g., boomers. For instance, high schoolers still print Google maps when they are trying to navigate somewhere, whereas college students rely on mobile apps for GPS. We hypothesize that some of this may be because high schoolers are still living at home with their parents and as such a) haven’t been exposed to advanced digital tools / behaviors and b) simply do not have advanced use cases – the types of use cases that will undoubtedly exist once they move on to the next life stage. As with our first study with college students, this study has been a joy to conduct, and we plan on continuing to feed our intellectual curiosity in this area. If there is a particular topic in which you are interested, feel free to reach out to us via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or phone. We’d be happy to discuss our findings – and plans for future studies – in more detail. 11
  12. 12. Jeffrey Rosenberg jrosenberg@goodmancompany.com Twitter: @RosenbergATL linkedin.com/in/RosenbergATL Mark Fithian mfithian@goodmancompany.com Twitter: @MarkFithian linkedin.com/in/MarkFithian Thank You About Goodman&Company Founded in 2003, Goodman&Company creates unique value by bridging the gap between management consultants and marketing agencies, ensuring actionability and accelerating impact. We work with our global client base to help them achieve their business goals through a variety of services in the areas of intelligence, strategy development and activation. New York 1841 Broadway, Suite 300 New York, NY 10023 +1 212 579-0020 office +1 212 580-4064 fax San Francisco 101 California Street, Suite 2450 San Francisco, CA 94111 +1 415 946-8899 office +1 415 946-8801 fax http://www.goodmancompany.com contact@goodmancompany.com http://www.twitter.com/GoodmanCompany http://www.facebook.com/GoodmanCompany http://www.linkedin.com/companies/235708 12

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