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G325 b uk_tribes_whatschanging-


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G325 b uk_tribes_whatschanging-

  1. 1. Use the guide questions in ‘UK Tribes Published: 7th May 2010 Annotating Essays.doc’ to help pick out key points from this article It's easy to forget five years ago life was so different. What has really changed for young people? In a society where social media, mobile communications and instant access are considered the norm, it is easy to forget that even five years ago life was so different. But what has really changed for young people? How are the lives of young people changing? And what’s so different for 16 to 24-year olds? We asked a team of industry experts – people for whom the 16 to 24-year old demographic is an important one – to let us know their thoughts. Some of the changes are obvious: of course, the “social media revolution” has played a part in ensuring that everyone has a voice – and a place for their voice to be heard, be it by the tens or the thousands; and technological advances mean that people are more connected than ever before, and more mobile – you can make plans on the move, instantly and hassle-free. But what else is changing for young people? “For young people it’s about moments that draw them together – and enhancing those moments amongst an ever-growing array of entertainment experiences,” agrees Adam Boita, of Sony Computer Entertainment. “PlayStation sets out to be social, fun and surprising, which I think resonates with them. The ability to challenge friends and other fans online globally has opened up boundaries. For some young people, it's their main entertainment experience and for others it plays a part in their overall entertainment experiences.” Michelle Saxby of the Teenage Cancer Trust agrees that social interaction is most important to young people: “Mobile technology and the internet has meant that teenagers in 2010 have an online social life that needs maintaining.” It is access and communication that has most altered the lives of young people, says Michelle. “It is important to communicate with young people in an engaging, clear, honest and non-patronising way. We give important messages that don’t scaremonger. We use social networking channels, such as Facebook, and we use text updates. We use the most up-to-date forms of communications to speak to young people and our units provide patients with state-of-the-art technology – online gaming and Skype, helping to keep them occupied and in touch with friends and family,” Michelle adds. “Young people want to feel part of a gang. And they know what they like, what they want as consumers,” says Taylor Glasby, editor of Disorder Magazine. “The explosion of social media means that traditional media is now dissected and reassembled away from the gaze of those that control it – and the results can be very interesting. When Rage Against the Machine got to number 1 over the X Factor single, it was obvious that no record label could have constructed that campaign successfully. It was a real group achievement.” But this is not really new behaviour, says Sean Adams, founder of Drowned In Sound. “The ability to 'follow' people on social networks is just like a digital equivalent of people reading interviews with Kurt Cobain to discover the Pixies and Sonic Youth. Tumblr is the new scrapbook, Twitter is the new scribbling in Tippex on your textbook.” “I think the person-to-person world has shifted things greatly. I think we're seeing a shift from the data-is-king aggregation world of popular-equals-best, to a much more fractured, individualistic culture,” adds Sean.
  2. 2. “Media plays a role in shaping and influencing and representing young people's lives more now than ever before,” asserts Naomi Jane, from the 4WD Foundation. “Young people have grown up with the media, using it as a method of communication with friends and strangers as well as a source of entertainment and information. Social media is now likely to engage young people more than any other media format. Young people have been brought up as consumers of media, accepting stories as fact and more often than not have a more active interest in entertainment orientated media over information-orientated media.” But there is a negative to the mass media presence in the lives of young people. For young people, a sense of belonging – to a community or network or group – is still important, says Taylor. “Young people are consistently belittled, demonised, or ignored. Sadly, most young people accept this. And when they don't and try to use media as a tool to protest, the patronising continues; a raised eyebrow, a snide 'oh, look at that clever young person talking in big sentences!' aside. Magazines such as Disorder are vital as a voice and inspiration. Blogs are brilliant tools of voice and community.” Naomi Jane agrees that, unfortunately, the media plays a part in ostracising young people. “The media's representation of young people has been largely negative and demonising. Often taken as truth, misconceptions and generalisations can have the knock on effects of isolating the young and spreading ignorance and prejudice amongst older generations.” Communicating isn’t simply through normal channels. Music is important to young people, as an expression of who they are, says Andy Spence, a member of New Young Pony Club. “Music is a great communicator of style, values, beliefs, emotion… It lends itself to developing great friends – something that's a high priority at that age. It's also a great escape from worries and anxieties.” Young people’s sense of identity is stronger than ever, says DJ/producer Kissy Sell Out. “It’s like a smash ‘n’ grab society; here today/gone tomorrow. You can mix and match music tastes to suit your identity. Young people know what they like, and are not afraid to stay loyal to those tastes – but equally they’re very experimental. “It encourages innovation and creativity – and inspires young people. I think that’s something older people don’t necessarily understand – it all changes too quickly for them. Imagine what it’ll be like in 10 years’ time! Young people have the freedom to be whoever they want to be. They don’t tend to distinguish between genres. Choice now has more to do with what young people actually prefer, as opposed to what they belong to. Music is about the experiences now.” “If I were to name two major differences I would say engagement and expression,” says Gaby Jesson of Radiator PR. “As well as channelling brand personalities through conventional and social media, brands are getting right into the hearts and minds of 16-24 year olds through direct engagement. They are making young consumers the champions and benefitting from their input too. Expression is also key – making brands come to life through delivering relevant experiences aimed at this age group. “Today it is almost impossible to buy a home or get a worthwhile pension so most young people are creating status through the life experiences they have and how they share these with their peer group. They are less motivated by financial gain and more motivated by the journey they are on. Whether that’s becoming a young entrepreneur or just finding an amazing new festival or holiday experience to check out. And so what does the future hold for young people? How will their lives continue to change? It’s uncertain, concludes Naomi Jane. “The future is a very uncertain concept for young people right now. Change is more frequent, fluid and unscheduled than has ever been before. It will just keep changing.”