Millennials: The Gen Y Tsunami is Here


"For marketers, the Millennials represent a multifaceted challenge that defies easy categorization. Beyond their demographic diversity, marketers need to recognize distinct behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and values that set this group apart from the rest.

We need to realize that consumer-driven marketing integration is not a dream but a critical reality. And this starts with understanding who these young adults really are."

--DMW Direct Consumer Insights,"Millennials"

Related: 2010 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup

Dan Rosensweig becomes CEO of Textbook Rental Service

Chegg Dan Rosensweig is leaving his job overseeing Activision's Guitar Hero video game franchise to run Chegg. has been trying to shake up the college textbook industry by allowing students to rent the material required for their courses. The hiring was announced Tuesday.

Rosensweig is best known for his four-year stint as Yahoo's chief operating officer, where he worked closely with the Internet company's former CEO, Terry Semel. Rosensweig left Yahoo! after a management reshuffling in 2006.

This isn't Mr. Rosenweig's first foray into the education technology space. While at Yahoo! he was actively involved with my team on the Yahoo! For Teachers project. You can catch Dan's cameo in this promo video for Yahoo! Teachers. Dan is also current member of the DonorsChoose National Advisory Board.

Apple's secret iPad weapon: Marvel Comics?

It's easy to imagine why Apple would want to bring comics to the iPad – and thanks to Steve Jobs, it has an inside track to make that happen.

When Jobs needed movies for iTunes, Apple got them from Disney. When he needed TV shows? Disney (which owns ABC) was among the first to sign up. Why all the Disney love? Remember, Steve Jobs was the CEO of Pixar, which had a very lucrative movie distribution deal with Disney.

But wait, you say. Disney isn’t exactly a major book publisher. Oh, yes it is. Disney just bought Marvel, remember?

With Marvel comes Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, and all manner of other classic superheroes. Lately, much of the value from those characters has come through movies and TV. It’s easy to forget that these characters first came to life through full-color artwork on the printed page – a format that never translated very well to the digital realm.

Until the iPad, that is. The iPad will be the first mainstream computing device with the interface, the power, the battery, and the gorgeous color screen to truly bring comic books to life.


CauseWorld: A Location Aware Mobile App for Social Change


CauseWorld is the latest in a flurry of new location-based mobile apps that allow users to 'check in', connect with friends and earn badges. The free app comes in two flavors--iPhone and Android.

The downside of many location-aware mobile apps is that they tend to serve only as fuel for the "look at me" aspect of the social web. One of my Tweep's coined a great term for this trend: "geonarcissism."

Unlike other location-based social networks that put the focus on 'You', CauseWorld provides their community with an opportunity to focus on doing good, funding social change and benefiting others all with a few clicks (or taps) on their phone.

Here's how it works. All you need to do is walk into one of the many stores you most likely frequent anyway, such as common groceries, hardware stores, department stores, and many others. Pull out your phone, open the app, and check in. No purchase is required. When you 'check in' you earn "Karma Points." 

Your 'Karma Points' can then be converted into real dollars and donated, thanks to corporate sponsors Kraft Foods & Citi, to nine potential causes including Support A Classroom, Give Clean Water, Donate A Book or Provide Relief for Haiti. The CauseWorld community has already earned $6 million Karma's for Haiti. Like other location-aware games, you also earn badges for your 'Karma.'

This is also a perfect example of how brands can combine current trends like location-aware games, social media, cause marketing and mobile devices to deliver a unified experience for their customers.

Foursquare Teams With Bravo TV

Bravo TV and Foursquare will announce a new partnership on Monday that will integrate Bravo TV shows with the game aspects of Foursquare, a social networking site that encourages people to interact in the real world.

The partnership hopes to engage viewers long after they turn off the television, close their laptops and stop watching Bravo’s TV shows.

Starting Monday, Bravo will begin offering Foursquare players “badges” and special prizes when viewers visit more than 500 Bravo locations.

The locations will be picked by Bravo to correspond with select Bravo shows including “The Real Housewives,” “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Top Chef,” “Kell on Earth,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Shear Genius.”


Trend Watch: The 'Free Love' Generation Turns to Sexting

image from When Roger gets to an intimate stage with a woman these days, it usually doesn't take long until the sexy photos start.

His dating partners either request that he send them a suggestive—or downright explicit—photo from his cell phone to theirs, or they just send one themselves, completely unsolicited.

The catch is, Roger isn't a teenager—or even a 20-something. He's a 59-year-old divorcé, and, thanks to his cell phone and a slew of sassy ladies, his love life is more interesting than ever.

Shocked? Don't be. More and more of the 50+ set, both single and married, are using text messaging to spice up their sex lives.

Boomers, often sandwiched between teenagers, aging parents, and busy work schedules, are taking advantage of the new technology because it's fast, easy, and fun.


Why Lady Gaga Is A Role Model for Girls

image from
Unlike other celebrities who are fond of sharing their diet and workout tips, and proliferating the notion that the “ideal” body is just one squat away, she doesn’t talk about her body.  Her physical appearance is, as it should be, less important than her music.

I love that Lady Gaga is not afraid to be weird. As I explained in my blog about Halloween costumes, teenage girls have a hard time being goofy. Remaining cozy and nestled between the Os of “cool” feels safe.

Venturing beyond our narrow definition of cool isn’t easy when, as a girl, you’re pretty sure everyone is watching and judging you at all times. Lady Gaga thinks outside of the box and lives outside of those double Os.

From her crazy hair to the odd visuals of her music videos, she does whatever the crack she wants. And what she wants to do is be weird. But paradoxically, because she is so un-cool, Lady Gaga is….cool.

She is an oxymoron; the jumbo shrimp of coolness.  If that’s not reason enough to view her as a role model, I don’t know what will convince you people.


Related: Lady Gaga Sits Down with Oprah

Weekly Wrap: Slacktivism, Open Source Social Innovation, Boomers & Social Media, Helping Google Get Social, Sundance 2010 Round-Up, Texting Party in the USA, Steve Jobs' Wardrobe & More!

Barking.robot.iconA Time and Place for 'Slacktivism': Slacktivism; (v.) action 4 social change w/o much effort beyond a click/text. Known causes: social media, cellphones. [Ypulse]

Baby Boomers Get Connected with Social Media: Boomers are turning to social media, where they keep up their offline social connections and make new ones. Online marketing messages that help them build on their connections—and foster other online relationships—will get their interest. [eMarketer]

Lady GaGa's Lessons for the Music Business: Underneath Gaga's haystack wigs is a case study of what it takes to succeed in the music business today. Gaga, 23 years old, has made shrewd use of new digital platforms, while still leveraging the clout of a major label, an institution deemed obsolete by many proponents of DIY culture (Thanks Ypulse!). [WSJ]

Conan O'Brien's Fate a Sign of the Times: While the "Tonight Show" ratings fell under O'Brien's tenure as a whole, ratings amongst the younger demographics were better than those of Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." According to the New York Times, the median age of "Tonight Show" viewers fell by 10 years, from 55 to 45, in O'Brien's first month alone. [Colorado Daily]

Social Media Marketing, How Pepsi Got it Right: Social media marketing campaigns are proving to be goldmines rich with customer engagement and insight that companies wouldn’t likely have otherwise. Companies like PepsiCo are going to extensive lengths to foster this type of collaboration with fans, and the payoff has been big. [Mashable]

Will Creating a SWAT Team Help Google Get Social?: As successful as Google has been with plenty of other things — including a little thing called search-related advertising — it has struck out big-time in virtually every attempt at the social side of the web. [GigaOM]

Reflections from the Sundance Film Festival: Lois Vossen, ITVS vice president and Independent Lens series producer, shares her reflections on this year’s festival, which wraps up this weekend. [Beyond the Box]

College Students Hate Email: In fact, the student joked that she only uses her email to “communicate with her boss and adults.” She uses Facebook as her preferred method of peer-to-peer communication – she has had a Facebook thread running between the three of them for three years now. [Off Campus Media]

Tweet O' the Week: Can someone please buy Steve Jobs a new outfit! The man has more money than God and Oprah! A simple button down will do!" (via Scott Nevins) [Twitter]

Americans Sending 4 Times as Many Texts as Brits:There was a turning point a couple of years ago when it was suddenly undeniable: It was either text message or be left behind. If you were paying for it by the message, you suddenly had to find a plan, because you started having more and more friends that wouldn't talk any other way. Well, we're wondering if it has finally reached that point in the U.K. - or if it's yet to come. [ReadWriteWeb]

Teen Drinking May Cause Irreversible Brain Damage: For teenagers, the effects of a drunken night out may linger long after the hangover wears off. A recent study led by neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego compared the brain scans of teens who drink heavily with the scans of teens who don't. [NPR]

Open Source Social Innovation: Last week Bill Gates entered the digital publishing world by establishing the Gates Notes - an online evolution of his now annual January letter sharing his thoughts on the progress of the issues central to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s interesting and symbolic that the next chapter of his life story would include an “open source” platform for sharing IP on social innovation. [Cheskin]

Social Media is a Gen Y Battlefield: Conan, Leno & 'The Tonight Show' Debacle

I'm with CoCoI just finished watching Oprah Winfrey's interview with Jay Leno as well as  her after the show discussion with her audience in Chicago.

As I watched the episode, I found myself taking notes (dork alert!) and thought I'd share a couple few thoughts on the role social media & youth played in the whole The Tonight Show debacle.

  • After watching this mess unfold the last couple weeks and after watching Ms. Winfrey's discussion with her audience, I think it's interesting how Team Jay and Team CoCo fans seem to fall largely along generational lines. Why? I think that many Gen X/Gen Y look at Conan and think "he's like me" whereas Jay Leno is "that guy that their Boomer parents and grandparents watch."
  • Also, at a time in our history where Gen Y are feeling the brunt of the recession more than other demographic groups, I feel that they looked at this situation and identified with a storyline where someone their age was "getting screwed" over by corporate America. I'm not saying this viewpoint is rooted in reality, just that this NBC drama resonated because it was a mirror of what is happening in their own lives.
  • Conan's fans were more effective at using social media to self-organize on Twitter, Facebook and other online communities to tell CoCo's side of the story. Look no further than Facebook: Jay Leno (17, 642 fans) vs. Conan O'Brien (871,825 fans). In the end, Conan's staff and fans were able to use social media to connect with their fan base, share his story and take this situation out of NBC's control and ultimately turn the court of public opinion against Jay Leno.
  • During her interview, Ms. Winfrey pointed to an poll that showed something like 96% of the people who voted were on Team Conan. Here again I think Conan fans and social media played a role in skewing the numbers in the 'Tonight Show' poll. I can't tell you how many Tweets, texts and Facebook messages I got last weekend from other Conan fans urging people to vote for "Team Conan" on Oprah's poll.

One thing is clear: If NBC wants to rehabilitate Jay Leno's burnished image, they are going to have to jump into the social media trenches and tell their own story--before someone else does. They also need to face the cold reality that they don't have absolute control over the message anymore.

I may be wrong, I may be right. What do you think?

Either way, given the situation in Haiti, this seems like a really silly discussion. This is a point that Conan made every night during his final week: Forget about us (Jay & Conan) and donate to something that really matters--Haiti Relief.

I think that's something that we can all agree on. If you haven't already, here's how you can help the people of Haiti.

And oh, apologies to Pat Benatar.....

Image Credit: Mike Mitchell Illustration

Study: Facebook and MySpace Enhance the Positive Relationships Kids Already Have

Social.montage When the Morgan Stanley Report on Youth Media Consumption was released last summer, it unleashed a flurry of media reports on the plague of "internet addicted" youth.

Since the Morgan Stanley report, we've continued to see a steady stream of news reports on internet addiction and youth. So it wasn't too much of a surprise that last weeks release of the Kaiser Family Foundation 'Generation M' study was met with a variation on the internet addiction theme.

While there are indeed negative aspects to digital media, along with kids who spend way too much time playing video games and texting, there are also lots of young people using social and digital media in positive and inspiring ways.

As Meredith at Ypulse points out, most media outlets and parenting guru's focus solely on the negative effects of digital and social media. More often than not, the positive effects of social and digital media in the lives of tweens, teens and twentysomethings are left out of the 'youth and digtal media' conversation. I couldn't agree more.

A new study in the January issue of Developmental Psychology conducted by psychologists at the University of Virginia suggests that well-adapted youth with positive friendships will use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to enhance the positive relationships they already have.

Researchers assessed the friendship quality and popularity of 172 13- to 14-year-olds, and then, eight years later, "friended" the study participants on their Facebook and MySpace pages to examine their interactions and friendship quality in those domains.

The entire report is locked up behind a pay wall (but well worth the 11 bucks), but here are some of the key findings:

  • The research team found that the youths who were better adjusted in their early teens were more likely to use social media in their early 20s, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or parental income, and that, overall, the patterns of friendship quality and behavioral adjustment as early teens continued into early adulthood;
  • The interactions young adults are having on their Facebook and MySpace pages are more similar to than different from the interactions they have in their face-to-face relationships;
  • Parents of well-adjusted teens may have little to worry about regarding the way their children behave when using social media. It's likely to be similar positive behavior;
  • 86% of the youth in the study used the social media sites like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, which parallels the national average;
  • Use of Facebook and MySpace is really pervasive among this age group, so it's understandable that young people would want to be connected with their peers in this way; it's an extension of the relationships they already share;
  • Parents should try to stay involved with their children and make an attempt to understand their online world in the same way they would want to understand any other aspect of their lives.

MusicDNA: New Filetype To Allow For More Than Just Music


The new file, MusicDNA, can include things like lyrics, videos, artwork and blog posts, which will continually be updated, as well as the music. It has been created by Norwegian developer Dagfinn Bach, who worked on the first MP3 player in 1993.

The new file format will be searchable, with up to 32GB of extra information embedded in the file. The format is being designed to allow for dynamic updates of information on lyrics, videos, artwork and relevant links anytime the user is connected.

Weekly Wrap: Yahoo's Social Strategy, TweSMS for South Africa, Little Passports, 3D TV Hype, 25 UX Videos, Brands As Media, Power of the Social Experience, Mobile Apps & More!

Derek.baird.barking.robotNielsen Preps TV, Online Video Report: Nielsen has set its schedule for reporting integrated TV and online audience viewing data. The initiative is called TVandPC, and the first "extended screen" estimates of the combined audiences will be available for the month of September as evaluation data, delivered to clients sometime in fourth quarter. The evaluation period will end in Feb. 2011.[Brand Week]

The 'Connect Wars': Not content to control only their own domains, social web sites are trying to conquer those of everyone else — by becoming the dominant log-in system for the web. Facebook, of course, is off to a quick and convincing start. [GigaOM] 

Yahoo's Social Strategy Takes Root in Asia: A series of deals with major social networks shows Yahoo moving away from its origins as a traditional portal, as it sets its sights on becoming a content-rich destination where people can interact with and navigate to all their favorite sites. [Asia Media Journal]

Twitter SMS Notifications for South Africa: TweSMS is a third party application that allows you to receive your twitter notifications and updates delivered straight to you phone via SMS message. [TweSMS]

Create Your Own Android or iPhone App in Minutes: Creating a self-branded iPhone or Android app just got a lot more accessible. iSites, a new service launching today, allows you to take your website’s RSS feed and data and quickly transform it into a full-fledged iPhone app. [Mashable]

Global Youth: Turn Kids Into Globetrotters: In an era dominated by electronic communication, people are embracing concepts from a slower age, like the company that transforms emails into paper letters and one that resurrected the classic telegram. Little Passports combines that nostalgia for 'real' mail and combines it with the convenience of a subscription service. [Little Passports] 

3D TV Is 'Mostly Hype': 3D has been getting boatloads of attention, especially during this week at CES where major electronics firms are unveiling their new 3D TVs, but while Sony and others would like you to believe that we'll all be playing video games and watching movies in glorious 3D this year, Forrester Research would tell you otherwise. Related: CES and Vegas 2010: Supersized Vulgarity [Industry Gamers] [Collaborative Creativity]

The Power of the Social Experience: This is why both employers and marketers interested in Generation Y need to realise that, while social technology is the new thing, just being on Facebook and Twitter won’t be as effective in attracting and retaining this cohort, as inviting Generation Y to experience the potential of what you have to offer with a friend or two. [Naked Generations] 

Social Marketing in Twenty Ten: As I believe, Social Media is not owned by any one department. The entire company will eventually socialize represented by each division that warrants an outward and participatory voice. Conversations always map to the activity that exists across multiple networks, spanning a multitude of subjects and potential outcomes. [Brian Solis]

All Brands Are Media: Why are brands choosing to become media companies? Because they can. Blogs, Web publishing, smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, netbooks and other tools providing access to the Internet allow firms to create media sites as easily as old-line publishers can. [IP Carrier]

Oprah's No Texing & Driving Campaign: It's the show that started Oprah's No Phone Zone movement. Watch a 15 minute clip or the entire episode about the dangers of distracted driving, then sign the No Phone Zone Pledge. Related: Buck Hollywood > No More Texting and Driving [Oprah Winfrey] [Buck Hollywood]

25 User Experience Videos That Are Worth Your Time: Rare are the opportunities to attend conferences or watch live shows on subjects that we’re interested in. That’s why we are presenting here phenomenal videos and related resources on the topic of user experience (UX) by different presenters at different events. [Smashing Magazine]

Barking Robot Mini: Be sure to also check out my Tumblr, Barking Robot Mini, for links, pictures and other stuff I've stumbled across during my digital walkabout!