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July 2008

Ypulse Seeking Youth Advisory Board Members

Anastasia Goodstein is an award-winning blogger and expert on how American tweens, teens and twentysomethings consume technology, new media, social networks and life on the web.

She is also the creative genius behind the Ypulse blog and Ypulse Mashup conferences. She is the author of a book about teens and technology called Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online.

In her book Anastasia explores what Gen Y is doing on the Internet and with social media and mobile technology. She also delves into issues around cyberbullying, MySpace (and other social networks), as well as how all this technology is impacting schools and educators.

Today Anastasia announced that YPulse is  forming "a Ypulse Youth Advisory Board made up of 10 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations." This is an excellent opportunity for teens to share their ideas, insight and feedback on what it means to be a teen in the 21st Century. It's also a big opportunity for college-bound teens to list one of the leading youth media organizations on that college admissions form!

On a personal note, I can tell you that Anastasia is brilliant, talented and fun person. This will be a wonderful experience for any teen interested in getting a peek into the world of new media, marketing and popular culture.

So if you are a teen, or know a teen who's interested in joining the YPluse Youth Advisory Board, send them here for all the details.

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Social Media Hits Critical Mass

The latest report from Universal McCann's prestigious Media in Mind (MiM) study finds that social media and Web 2.0 technologies have reached a "tipping point" and altered the way we communicate. This is among the most powerful and in-depth research into the impact of social media and communication.

"Although age is the driving force behind usage patterns of these technologies, it is clear that a fundamental shift has taken place in all of our lives about what it means to communicate in the 21st Century." -Media in Mind (MiM)

Among the Universal McCann's findings:

  • 85% report relying on one or more Web 2.0 platforms to stay in touch with others
  • The number of adults who report being dependent on IM, grew to 21% from 14% a year ago
  • The percentage of U.S. adults who said they now rely on instant messaging,rose to 22% this year from just 9% in 2007
  • 1 out of 10 U.S. adults now publish blogs, up from just 5% a year ago
  • The percentage of U.S. adults who say they've never sent a text message fell to 41% this year from 49% a year ago. And among 18- to 34-year-olds, it dropped to 22% from 38%

The study also found that "mobile media also is becoming a dominant source of personal communications beyond the cell phone." In short, text messaging, along with other forms of social media are growning more and more mainstream and show the persuasive power of Web 2.0 and mobile technologies.

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TweetStats: Graph Your Stats

TweetStats, created by @dacort, is a new web application that provides you with your Twitter stats including, your tweet time line, your daily tweet aggregate (daily, weekly, monthly), your @'s percentages, as well as your most used Twitter interface.

You can also check out your tweet cloud to see a visual representation of the topics you tweet about most.

Pretty cool.

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PodCamp Ireland 2008

PodCamp Ireland is the very first stand-alone event to promote the use and provide guidance and tips on the subject of social media in Ireland and will be taking place on September 27th 2008 in Kilkenny, Ireland.

You can learn more and get information on registration by clicking here.

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EdTech Obama Meet Up @ NECC 2008

Will you be in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday June 29th? Come join me and other supporters of Barack Obama for President at a free EdTech  Meet Up for Obama in '08 and Unite for Change in TX.

Where: Sunset Station, Depot 1, just 2 blocks from the convention center

When: Sunday June 29, 8:30-10:30 pm

What: Chips, salsa, drinks, and great political conversation


Alternative RSVP instructions: Go to, click events in the right column, search for events in zip code 78205, and click EdTech Meet Up.

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The Mobile Internet Generation

The BBC New blog, dot. life, Rory Cellan-Jones has written a fascinating post investigating "how children used – and abused  - mobile phones and they were knowledgeable, articulate and very demanding of the technology.

Among the findings:

  • 4 out of 5 students had mobile devices with video, camera and music capabilities;
  • Students also said that the Internet, multimedia, music and Bluetooth were all features they expect to have on their mobile device;
  • Out of the 480 students who responded to the poll, only 3 didn't own a mobile phone.

I feel that this BBC story is a good representation of how tweens and teens are rapidly moving away from the PC-based Internet and rapidly adopting the mobile web. This trend will have huge implications throughout society and most especially in the education space.

Last summer, as part of my work on the Yahoo! Youth and Education Initiative, I conducted teacher workshops across the country. During the workshops I heard many teachers share both concern and misgivings about students using their mobile phones in the classroom.

Many of the teachers in our workshops where surprised to learn that you could, in fact, access the web via a mobile device. Other teachers shared stories of how students simply by-passed content blocked on school computers, instead opting to use their mobile phones to connect to the web and get the content they wanted on-demand.

The debate on whether students should or shouldn't have mobile phones in the classroom is becoming a moot point. The phones are already in the classroom, and as Cellen-Jones points out: 

"The children of the mobile internet generation are getting used to being connected – to their music, their videos, their social networking sites – wherever they go. And that means we are all going to have to think hard about how we rewrite the rules."

The use of mobile technologies is growing, especially among the younger generations, and represents the next frontier in learning. Increasingly we will continue to see academic and corporate organizations research invest, design and launch new mobile applications, many of which can be used in a learning context.

While educators and parents might be a bit nervous to embrace this trend, the reality is that Gen Y have already embraced the mobile web and now it's up to us to figure out how to use this technology in an educational setting to keep them interested and engaged in the learning process.

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User Generated Fame: Gen Y & Hollywood

After shaking up old media with their podcasts, YouTube videos and blogs, Gen Y is out to shake up one of the most entrenched industries around---Hollywood.

In his report,Talent Agents for the YouTube Generation, Marketplace reporter Kai Rysdall visits United Talent Agency's online division in Hollywood to learn about digital representation. Here's one of my favorite quotes from the interview:

"The guys at United Talent Agency think it's because they are so young that they've been able to pick as many winners as they have, never mind what the old guys think.

Nadler: If all of those 54-year-olds sat down with their 17-year-old kids for a week and said "Show me what you do."

Ryssdal: Is part of your job getting them to do that? To sit down and say, "I need to understand this?"

Nadler: Either way, they're going to have to learn if they want to keep their jobs."

Not only is this a great interview (high five Kai), but it's a great barometer on how rapidly social media, user generated content and Gen Y are changing both the way media is digested and what it means to be famous in the digital age.

Related Resources

  • Marketplace
  • UTA Online
  • Prom Queen                                                                                                                                                                                             

Free Cartoon Animation Software

via Open Source on LearnHub: "There are many cartoon animation programs available that offer free trial downloads. Here are three cartoon animation programs that are completely open-source, which means they are free for you to use.

Though they vary in complexity, ease of use and features you will likely find one that best suits your animation needs."

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K12 Online Conference 2008: Call for Papers

The K12 Online Conference 2008 has just issued a call for proposals. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 20-24 and October 27-31 of 2008, and will include a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 13. The conference theme for 2008 is "Amplifying Possibilities."

Participation in the conference (as in the past) is entirely free. Conference materials are published in English and available for worldwide distribution and use under a Creative Commons license. The deadline for proposal submission has been extended to July 11, 2008.

You can get more information, including the proposal form, over on the K12 Online website.

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Summer Camp Goes Virtual

Remember when summer meant running around the neighborhood, hanging out and getting your top lip stained by orange or grape soda? That may have been how we spent our summer, but Gen Y has its own ideas of how to spend summer vacation--and naturally, it involves technology.

Camp Fatal1ty was developed by pro-gamer Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel and is run by iD:Gaming Academy. The Fatal1ty camps are held at Emory University, Stanford University, UCLA and Villanova University and provides teens with "an immersive experience in the dynamic worlds of game development and professional gaming, our video game camp courses are geared for beginning to advanced teens aged 13-17."

Cybercamps Academy provides teens with the opportunity to learn more about web technologies, including Flash, graphic and video game design. The Cybercamp Academy sessions are held at over 50 universities including Duke, UCLA and Stanford.

They also have a virtual camp track where kids can learn how to do everything from game design to 3D modeling. According to research conducted by Cybercamps Academy, this type of camp "significantly increases higher-order thinking skills in kids."

This seems like a fun and active way for kids to get engaged in science and technology while providing them with the opportunity to develop both critical thinking and problem solving skills.

These tech camps provide an environment in which kids get to use technology in a context that allows them to learn how to work in a collaborative environment.It's too bad that these types of active learning experiences aren't more common during the regular school year.

Who knows, the next MySpace, Facebook or Flickr gazillionarie might be sitting in a VirtCamp right now.

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Teen Social Networking Moves Mainstream

According to a new report from the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (CICAC), American parents are becoming more comfortable with their kids use of social media. The report, released in March, finds a dramatic shift from last year's study.

In the 2008 survey, 27.7 % of Americans said that social networking should be restricted to adults. While this number may seem high, this is a dramatic decline from an identical question in the 2007 survey where 35.3 % of respondents said that only adults should participate in online activities such as social networking and online chats.

More results from the study:

  • 63.2 %, believed that children under 16 years old should not have use social networking sites and chat rooms.
  • Just 2.8 % of Americans said children should not have access to email until they are adults, down from 14.7 percent in 2007.
  • 4.2 % felt that children should wait until adulthood before surfing the Web.

This study shows that parents are moving beyond the hype and scare tactics of the media and getting a better understanding of the role that social networking plays in the lives of their totally wired teens.

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The Office: Generational Warfare

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” - Jean-Paul Sartre

It's June. A time for graduation and big dreams. But generational conflicts, stemming from the spread of social media into the workplace, have made navigating the office politics just a little more difficult.

And the conflict isn't just between Boomers and Gen Y.

Gen X are still here (do you hear us now?) and they have a message for the newbie Gen Y's ready to climb that career ladder: not so fast. And X'rs are also wondering when the heck are the Boomers going to retire?

Here's the latest round up of articles on the 21st Century workplace:

  • 10 Reasons Why Gen X Are Unhappy at Work: "I’m worried about Generation X and corporations. As far as I can tell, these two have a tentative relationship at best – and are likely headed for some rocky times ahead."
  • 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life: I’m nearly 35 years old, and I’ve made my share of mistakes in my life. I’m not a big believer in regrets …however, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was graduating from high school and starting out as an adult in life.
  • Move Over, X. Here Come the "Global Teens": "Work hard, play hard, spend hard, live hard. The children of the baby boom — what Douglas Coupland calls "global teens" — have no time for Generation X whining and self-doubt."

Plinky: Next Big Thing

Plinkyscript1A couple days ago Jason Shellen announced that he has started a new web 2.5 venture called Plinky. Who's Jason? You may not know his name, but you do know his products. Among other things Jason was instrumental in launching both Blogger and Google Reader.

So when he gets involved in a new project, chances are good it's going to have a lasting impact. While there are precious few details on the service, Jason did post this intriguing blurb over on his blog:

"In short, Plinky will be focused on helping people have fun while creating great content...One thing I will say is that this is not a Blogger 2.0 or a MySpace-killer but rather something that should help make using any social site more interesting"

Hmm. Guess we'll just have to wait till this fall to get the full scoopage. But in the meantime, you should go sign-up for a invite for the Plinky beta, scheduled to go live this fall.

Good luck to Jason and Team Plinky.

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Emoodicon: Come On Get Happy!

Marcie's Grand Adventure from john t unger on Vimeo.

Back in the 1970s, the Boomer's went wild for their mood rings. Now their spawn, those totally wired Gen Y kids, are going wild for their version of the mood ring--Emoodicon.

This is a nifty way for the lol, omg, kthksbye, twitter, texting, blogging, loving kids to share their emotional state when they are away from the computer. You know. Outside.

Anyhoo. Still wondering what this Emoodicon ring thing is all about? You can watch the video, or you can just get the scoop here:

"They’re smileys for the real world. They tell the world what’s on your mind.

If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you,” is a phrase you’ll never utter again. If your boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend or roommate or evil arch nemesis has eyes, they’ll know. (If they don’t have eyes, no ring will help you. Sorry.)

Emoodicons are completely customizable. They’re cool, they’re fun, and they won’t break or turn your finger green. Isn’t that a nice change?"

It's also an interesting social commentary, showing the depth of the love affair that kids today have with technology. Using symbols from the keyboard and online world to communicate their true feelings.

Yep. Times are a changing. And oh yeah, there's an Emoodicon "Make a Face" contest.

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Teens & Digital Health

ABC News has an interesting story how teens using a tablet PC, called Health eTouch, were more likely to share sensitive information on their medical questionnaire than they would talking face-to-face with their doctor..

As a result of having teens use the Health eTouch device, doctors stated that they were able to identify "revealing behavioral patterns that could lead to adolescent morbidity or mortality."

Today's teens have grown-up in the digital world of social networks, virtual worlds and blogs. Their "totally wired" experience has conditioned them to share, under a sense of perceived anonymity, personal information in the digital sphere.

This is an important study and one that shows the depth of influence technology has had, and will continue to have, on current and future generations.

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