The Web is a Storytelling Medium

"The Web is a storytelling medium. Most people function in a storytelling mode. It's the way we communicate ideas, richly, as well as how we structure our thoughts.

I have never known a great teacher, a great political leader or great military leader who wasn't also a great storyteller. Education is a storytelling problem.

Leadership is a storytelling problem. Ultimately, being a CIO is a storytelling problem. However, most CIOs don't understand that."     -- Bran Ferren

Mind the (Generation) Gap

"The problem is that in most companies, the Web is considered a strange and unnatural thing, and the process of designing it is disconnected.

In fact, there's an age gap where many of the very senior people in companies, who are making decisions about these things, aren't online.

So they're approving, looking at, reviewing things that they're never accessing themselves, nor are they part of the culture of how people use the Web." | Bran Ferren

Weekly Wrap: Foursquare Nabs MTV & VH1, Linguist Urges Kids to Embrace Twitter, Saving the Google Students, COPPA & Youth Marketing, Free iPad eBooks & More!

Barking.robot.iconSix Reasons to be Skeptical of the 'Digital Natives' Discourse: Almost all of the claims of the net gen discourse are in popular media and if they are based on research, it is proprietary and full methodological details are not provided. All of the sound research that refutes the claims is published in scholarly journals and has been subject to peer review. [Net Gen Skeptic]

Saving the Google Students: For the Google generation, closing school libraries could be disastrous. Not teaching kids how to sift through sources is like sending them into the world without knowing how to read. [LA Times]

Weekly Wrap, Foursquare Edition: Meet Gatsby, Fresh off the heels of hooking up with Bravo TV and Harvard Foursquare signs a similar deal with MTV & VH1, Microsoft adds Foursquare data to Bing Maps & a really cool visualization of Foursquare check-ins at SXSW. [Iconoculture] [Mobile Entertainment News] [Mashable] [TechCrunch] [SimpleGeo]

10 Reasons Students Are Tuning Teachers Out: You’re teaching to a generation of students that can access more information more quickly than any other generation. Don’t tell students that you don’t want to figure out how to use the internet or that you don’t answer email. You’re putting yourself into a category you don’t want to be in. [GYJoe]

US Census Bureau Adds Mapping App to Facebook: In an effort to reach out to young people, the U.S. Census Bureau is launching a huge nationwide campaign incorporating social media, broadcast media and print to encourage people to fill out their census forms this year. [Inside Facebook]

Ypulse Interview| Jamie Tworkowski: Jamie is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide. Related: MTV Poll: Generation Stress [Ypulse]

Preparing Your Content for iPad: Platform-specific considerations and UX Guidelines for web content in Safari on iPhone OS devices, with specific information for iPad. Also, iPad to Offer 30,000 free eBooks at launch. [Safari Technical Notes] [Apple Blog] [UX Magazine]

Marketing to Kids | A Time for Playing by the Rules:Whether it’s Quiksilver, Monster Energy Drinks or ESPN X Games, the look and feel of the typical action sports-related website is young, edgy, authentic. Action sports marketers need to be aware, however, of the panoply of laws that regulate marketing to kids, including the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). [GroupY]

Quote O' The Week: “I hate being thought of as a product. I am not a doll, and people want to treat me that way. I’m older now. I have an opinion. I have my own taste.” - Miley Cyrus on why being a Disney pop princess is so difficult. [Gossip Girl] [Barking Robot]

Blogging, academia, and the new public intellectual: John Holbo admits he and his fellow pioneers have lost the “revolutionary fervor” of blogging’s early days. “I’m fortunate to be at the top of the food chain, to have these bully pulpits where I can stand up and know thousands of people will hear me,” he says. “But we all thought blogging was going to transform academic life, and that didn’t really happen. [Cal Alumni Association]

Linguist Urges Kids to Embrace Twitter: Language is forever changing -- and forms such as tweets and text messages are no less valid than any textbook version, says the linguist David Crystal, whose latest book encourages children to engage with the possibilities of their lingua franca. [The Independent]

More People Are Watching TV While Surfing the Web: This is some decent news for the TV industry, since the fear is that Internet time is eating into boob tube viewing. Overall, TV viewing is up 1%, year over year, according to the report.  [Business Insider]

Why Apple’s iPad Can’t Succeed in Schools (Yet): You see, tablets-as-books is a great idea until the battery dies, and then the student has no textbook and no computer. She will have to plug-in to a power outlet if she wants either of those things back. Related: A Kindle in Every Backpack [The Apple Blog] [Barking Robot]

Get Away from Technology, Experience the World

Route 66 | Photograph by Derek E. Baird "It’s important to get away from technology and experience the world. You’ve got to see your world, see your community, see what’s not being said that needs to be said. That’s probably the best way to figure out what you’re going to say.

For me at least, it’s impossible to have any good ideas while sitting behind a computer. Ideas come from life. As Hemingway said, “I have to live to work."

    -Jonathan Harris, Beyond Flash (via Amanda Mooney)

Hillary Clinton on Digital Freedom

Hillary.clinton.internet.freedom "There are many other networks in the world - some aid in the movement of people or resources; and some facilitate exchanges between individuals with the same work or interests.

But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that's why we believe it's critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms.

First among them is the freedom of expression. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, email, social networks, and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas - and created new targets for censorship...

The final freedom I want to address today flows from the four I’ve already mentioned: the freedom to connect - the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other.

The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Clay Shirky: What Four Year Olds Know About Media

Fa And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV.

We did that for decades. We watched I Love Lucy. We watched Gilligan's Island. We watch Malcolm in the Middle. We watch Desperate Housewives.

Desperate Housewives essentially functioned as a kind of cognitive heat sink, dissipating thinking that might otherwise have built up and caused society to overheat.

And it's only now, as we're waking up from that collective bender, that we're starting to see the cognitive surplus as an asset rather than as a crisis. We're seeing things being designed to take advantage of that surplus, to deploy it in ways more engaging than just having a TV in everybody's basement.

Here's something four-year-olds know: Media that's targeted at you but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change.

Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won't have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan's Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.

-- Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, Clay Shirky

Global Youth: Australian Teens On Generational Stereotypes, Video Games, Social Networking & Family Life

Recently a correspondent for the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper, sat down with four teens and asked them to share what really matters to them?

As you can imagine, the teens had quite a lot to say on a wide variety of topics ranging from generational stereotypes to social networking, video games & family life.

Here are a few of the notable quotes from the article, We're Gen Y and We Care.You can read the entire transcript of the interviews over on the Herald Sun website.

  • We are not all a bunch of depressed and lazy kids running the world into the dirt. In fact, most of us care about the world more than anyone, for it will be ours in years to come and we want it to be the best it ever was. (Lana, 16)
  • All that the anti-bullying programs and guidance councillors did was drive bullying underground until it was it was almost impossible to pin down and report. Bullying is a topic that is not readily discussed over school lunch. It's something that no one wants to acknowledge - yet everyone knows is happening. (Beatrice, 16)

  • What things in my life matter most to me? Schoolwork and how hard I have to study at it is one thing. Another are my friends. They are always there and able to help me if I have a crisis on my hands. My family is also important to me. They can help with just about everything. (Justin, 15)
  • Because I am a 16-year-old girl who has grown up with technology and computers around me, I'm going to strip on webcam, take naked photos and cyberbully the shortest girl at my school. The fact is, all of this couldn't be further from the truth. That is not the type of person I am, nor the type any of my friends are. (Lana, 16)
  • The primary subject of talk between my friends and I are video games, and I am not ashamed to say it. They provide an escape. I enjoy sitting down to play my Xbox to maybe forget about something bad that had happened at school that day. I know that the older generation will read this and say that they entertained themselves by going outside. It was never going to be like that forever: advancing technology made sure of that. (James, 15)

  • Many of my peers won't admit it but having parents come to see you dance/debate/compete in sport is such a big thing. This is most noticeable when parents don't show up - or worse, when they do and sit in the back reading a book throughout your entire presentation. (Beatrice, 16)

  • Yes -- dating, Facebook and sex are topics of conversation, but they are not the pillars which we revolve our lives around. Surprisingly, sometimes we talk about things that matter. At my school, the emphasis on helping others is huge. We send students to Cambodia to teach English in schools and orphanages, build houses and assist landmine victims. (Lana, 16)

  • I am one of the lucky ones who has never been seriously bullied or forced to do something that I don't want to do, so my life has been pretty simple so far. Certainly, I have seen other kids being bullied or pressured and my sympathy goes out to them, but thankfully I have never been the target. (James, 14)
  • I have often been irritated by teenage rampages, but I believe that most young people are good and will grow up to be good citizens. However, the "ferals" amongst them hog the publicity because crime and stupidity make better media stories. There have always been bullies, fools and stupid people [always will be] but the % of them now seems to be much higher than when I was growing up. (Reader Comment)
For more insight into the lives of Australian youth culture, be sure to check out Sydney-based Dan Pankratz's interviews with Australian teens.

Weekly Wrap: Glee Sweepstakes, Twitter & Teens (Again), Avatars for Kids, Virtual World Advertising, Jenna Bush on 'Today' & More!

Twitter Doesn't Care About the 'Teens Don't Twitter' Talk: Says Twitter co-founder Biz Stone: "There have been studies which have indicated that our audience skews a little older, but I think that everything is changing so quickly that in a few months the situation could be completely different.” Duly noted. Can we all just move on now? [Digital Beat]

Why Don't Teens Tweet? We Asked 10,000 of Them: This TechCrunch guest post on Teens & Twitter was written by Geoff Cook, co-founder and CEO of the wildly popular social networking site myYearbook. [TechCrunch]

Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Joins 'Today': NBC's "Today" show has hired someone with White House experience as a new correspondent former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager. Hager, a 27-year-old teacher in Baltimore, will contribute stories about once a month on education issue to television's top-rated morning news show. [Yahoo! OMG]

Tips on Choosing Age-Appropriate Texting Devices: John Biggs over at the NYT offers up some basics you should know about the mobile devices out there for kids. Also, Amy James at Knowledge Essentials has some advice on choosing a mobile phone for your kids. And once you pick your new mobile gadget, here are some texting tips from yours truly. [NYT] [Knowledge Essentials] [Barking Robot]

Tweet O' The Week: "I was just thinking, it's so great to be out of schooling. No more people bullying each other, bringing one another dow- oh, wait..." [via @johncmayer aka John Mayer]

Obama Nod Linked Ted Kennedy to Younger Generation: A few might have known him as the bad boy, or the last Kennedy brother to mount a presidential bid. But when he endorsed Barack Obama and later gave a stirring convention speech, Kennedy truly raised his profile with a generation wholly removed from Camelot. Also related: Ted Kennedy's Impact on Education. [AP] [Knowledge Essentials]

Free Kid Friendly Avatar Creator Sites: Philly Teacher has put together a great list of sites where kids can create their own avatar---for free! [Philly Teacher]

Kids, Virtual Worlds & Advertising: Over eight consecutive weekends, I had watched about 100 hours of children’s television across seven stations, which loosely added up to over 3,000 commercials viewed. That many commercials edited end-to-end would fill an entire day of watching nothing but commercials. [360Kid]

Global brands look to China's young consumers to offset losses in crisis-battered home markets: Young Chinese shoppers are still spending freely, and major brands ranging from Nickelodeon, Nike, Quicksilver  to Barbie doll maker Mattel Inc. are courting them eagerly to shore up revenue as demand elsewhere slumps. [Washington Examiner]

Fox Launches 'Glee' Sweepstakes: There's also the "Biggest Gleek" mini-competition.  You register online, at the same website, and then use your Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook accounts to play along.  The idea's simple: you earn points by mentioning Glee on your status messages or tweets, inviting friends to join the competition, and whatever else they have you to do. Related: 'Glee' Pilot Doubles as Marketing Trial[TV Buddy] [TV Week]

Speed Round: Check out the award winning educational resources & curriculum 'BEYOND THE FIRE: Teen Experiences of War', WSJ on 'Why Gen Y Can't Read Nonverbal Clues' (thanks Armory Marketing!), examples of good-cause campaigns featured in kids' virtual worlds, Gen Y physicians want more transparency in Pharma & Medical vendor relationships and finally......debunking Gen Y stereotypes & proving old people just love to blame young people! [Independent Lens] [WSJ Online] [gamine expedition] [Dark Daily] [Examiner]

Weekly Wrap: Boys Dig Disney XD, German Video Game Ban, Unigo's Advice for College Freshman, The iPod is Dead, Parents on Facebook & New Moon Clothing Collection

Disney XD Targets Boys & Scores Big Ratings: While Disney Channel targets tween girls with female-centric shows like "Hannah Montana" and "Sonny with a Chance" and movies like "Princess Protection Program," Disney XD is giving the boys what they want. According to the latest ratings figures, the boys are tuning in. [All Headline News] [Ypulse]

Online Petition Stalls German Video Game Ban: German government plans to ban violent video games will have to be put on hold, after a successful internet petition by German gamers. [Guardian]

What I Wish I'd Known: Our friends over at Unigo have compiled a bunch of video from their community who offer advice for incoming college freshman on everything from what to do with that high school boyfriend, dorm life 101, keeping tabs on your academic advisors and other essential college survival skills. Also congrats to Unigo on making Mashable's list of 'Top 10 Social Networks for Gen Y.' [Unigo] [Mashable]

Tweet O' the Week: "IBM is afraid of Microsoft who is afraid of Google who is afraid of Facebook who is afraid of Twitter who is afraid of whales." (via @jowyang)

The iPod is Dead. Long Live the iPod: The iPod as many of us have known it is on the wane and giving way to a more feature-rich family of devices that in time will bear little resemblance to the trailblazing digital music players that helped Apple capture 70% of the North American market. [Yahoo! Finance]

How Social Networks Will Transform Marketing: Consumers will still use Facebook, LinkedIn and such, as they do today. What's different is that OpenID and similar capabilities will enable consumers to traverse the web, and have their networks flow with them. [MediaPost]

Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook: This site gives teens a chance to get back at their parents for taking away their "public privacy". They understand that Facebook is a public place, they just don't want their parents on it. Sort of like teens not wanting their parents to hang out at the mall at night. []

Speed Round: A preview of Nordstrom's new The Twilight Saga: New Moon Collection, are we informing ourselves to death, here's a list of teachers who use Twitter with their students, more on social media ROI, how to translate your tweets, Indiviz is a video community for student made films, here's a real doozy on "Teaching The Entitled Generation", cops show up when they see an old man hanging out with a 2-year-old at McDonald's (ooops!) and finally....7 iPhone Apps that can save a life. [Yahoo! Shine] [FrostBytes] [GoogleDoc] [Social Media Today] [Mashable] [Converge] [SFist]

Weekly Wrap: Twittergate, South African Youth, Cool Youth Brands, McTween's, Mobile Web & UK Youth Trends

Morgan Stanley Report on Youth: Unless you've been under a rock, or living in L.A. with the all consuming coverage of all things related to Michael Jackson, you'd be hard pressed to have missed the report on youth media consumption complied by a teen intern at Morgan Stanley. Naturally, everyone has their own take, but most agree that teens don't Tweet. Why? It's a safety thing...don't teens know that they can make their updates private? [Barking Robot] [TIME] [Guardian] [Mobile Behavior] [Business Week] [Marketing Charts] [Mediate] [TechCrunch] [Twitter Support]

Tweet o' the Week: 'I hope to hell people tweet at my funeral. I'm of a different generation, but if I die, there had better be a party." (via @AmberCadabra).

Student Village & South Africa Youth: Marc Kornberger, co-founder of Student Village in 2001 helps companies and brands market their products to the 18-25 youth on campuses across South Africa. Marc has a great post titled, "Six Things You Need to Know About Youth Marketing in South Africa." Good work Marc! [Crammed] [Student Village]

Wisdom from a Gen Y Entrepreneur: Vanessa Patton, a Millennial entrepreneur, shares what she's learned about starting her  own business. Also, if you're a Gen Y entrepreneur, be sure to add yourself to the Under 30 CEO list started by Derek Johnson of Tatango. [Gen Y Guide]

Teen Returns from Solo Sailing Trip Around the World: Zac Sunderland, 17, has become the youngest person to sail around the world alone after docking in Marina del Rey shortly after 10 a.m. His 13-month journey covered about 28,000 miles. What an *amazing* and brave young man. Wow. [ABC 7 LA]

Cool Youth Brands: Graham D. Brown over at mobileYouth has a great round up of Cool Youth Brands, including: Absolut, Apple, Red Bull, Facebook, Twitter, Levi’s, Pepsi, Coke, KFC, McDonald’s, Toyota Scion & Adidas. [mobileYouth]

Tweens are overlooked in the world of fast food.  Too hungry for a kids meal and parents are not ready to pay the high price for an adult meal.  Thank goodness tweens love the dollar menu and think that it's cool. []

Mosque Jams Cell Phones: A device which blocks mobile phone signals has answered the prayers of some Kenyan Muslims. As the world and the web get progressively mobile, there will continue to be a generational tug of war between people, the mobile web and machines. [BBC] [GigaOM] [MobileBehavior]

Google Looks to Campus for Cloud Converts: "Google's got a not-so-secret weapon in its bid to convert the world to applications such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Sites and, soon, Google's Chrome operating system: the 17 million college students on more than 4,000 campuses across the country."

I wonder if, in light of Twittergate, Gen Y's will reconsider using cloud based services? Speaking of which, Dell and Stoneware have teamed up to provide a 'private cloud' solution for the education market. [AdAge] [Royal Treatment] [TechCrunch]

More on Hispanic Youth Marketing: Over on the always excellent Engage:Teens blog, Jose Villa explains why the Hispanic youth market is too large to ignore, while Iconoculture shares the findings of a new report on Hispanic youth and happiness. Also related: my blog post on Hispanic youth demographics & texting habits. [Engage:Teens] [Iconowatch] [Barking Robot]

One Last Thing: Gen Y's not that into you, debating the future prospects for the cast of the teen reality show 'NYC Prep', hey kids......Facebook is forever!, 2/3 of the adult population are 'ambivalent' about the mobile web, teens are buying less music, US Teen SMS up 100% in year and finally.......why teens are leaving Facebook and where they're headed. [Harvard Business] [NY Daily News] [MediaPost] [Marketing Charts] [Josh Dhaliwal] [TwentySet]

Weekly Wrap: Social Media, TV & Michael Jackson, Captain EO, Video Game Tips for Parents, Teens Leaving Facebook, Bruno & MySpace, Adam Lambert on Michael Jackson

Social Media, TV, Michael Jackson & Saying Goodbye to the 'King of Pop': Michael Jackson's  memorial service garnered huge numbers on TV, but it also did big numbers on the social web. Facebook and CNN teamed up again to provide a live stream of Jackson's memorial and allow viewer to simultaneously share their thoughts on Facebook. Also worth a read is John Morton's post on 'The Passing of Michael Jackson & Mass Media.'

Over on, Ypulse Youth Advisory Board member Nina shares who 'Michael Jackson was to Today's Teens.' In other related news, Disney may re-release the 3D Jackson space fantasy multimedia experience/film 'Captain Eo' and American Idol alum Adam Lambert shares his thoughts on Michael Jackson. [TechCrunch] [eWeek] [] [] [Examiner] [YouTube] [Rolling Stone]

Declaration of Independence from Social Media (For One Day): "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to dissolve the digital bands which have connected them with all of their friends they haven’t seen since preschool, and to assume a life away from the computer for one day, a respect for other Internet users requires that the person should declare the causes which cause them to separate from social media for that day." (Very clever and worth reading!) [Examiner]

Bing Now Bigger Than Digg, Twitter & CNN: According to, Bing was able to amass 49.57 million unique visitors in its first month as Microsoft’s official search engine. Bing’s traffic trumps that of Digg 38.96 million) Twitter (23 million), and CNN (28.54 million). We want to note that this focuses on U.S. visitors, since Compete does not track international visits. [Mashable]

Tweet of the Week: "If Google bought Twitter, it wouldn't get a new feature for 3 years. If Apple bought it, tweets would be .99 but you'd get a 10 character preview." [@DanielFlorien]

Raising a Healthy Gamer: Parenting is always a tough job, and video games are a tricky subject in today's families. Ars offers a no-BS guide to dealing with gaming and your children, and their advice is simple: you know your children better than anyone else.

Also be sure to check out video game parenting tips from the folks over at Microsoft & XBox 360 along with safety tips from Yahoo!, Disney and AOL. Just keep in mind that your kid is probably smart enough to hack your parental controls. [ARS Technica] [Yahoo! Safely] [AOL Parental Controls]

How to connect to Today's Millenials: Shop-Eat-Surf has a recap of a presentation given by Michael Wood, the Senior VP of Syndicated Research at Teen Research Unlimited (TRU), at the SIMA Boot Camp on understanding today's millennials. Hat tip to Group Y Sports for the heads up! [Shop Eat Surf]

Kids, Video Games, Learning & Health
: The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) has a good analysis of the Game Changer: Investing in digital play to advance children's learning and health report released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. [CMCH]

One Last Thing: Check out this mashup of the Michael Jackson classic 'Billie Jean' by Soulwax (great, great stuff!), Julia Fallon offers advice for educators Lost in Web 2.0 Cyberspace (pdf), a must-read article with fantastic ideas for teaching kids about media literacy & body image (thanks @tandrusiak!), as grandpa & grandma join Facebook--teens begin to bail, according to new research from BabyCenter 39% of moms report that they make 'net time' their quiet time, Crain's New York Business wonders if Bruno can save MySpace, and finally...don't tell Al Gore, but the environment is not the number one social cause among college students (pdf). [YouTube] [Princial Leadership] [] [Read Write Web] [Crain's New York Business] [SurveyU]

Web 2.0, Networks & Gen Y

Putting organisations like that into a network instead of running them as walled hierarchies is a massive step. At the moment it’s only beginning to happen, and that’s just in marketing.

“It’s gotta be another twenty years [until things really start to change]. The people in their twenties now who’ve grown up with computers, they’re the ones who are going to do all this [web 2.0] stuff naturally.

--Dominic Campbell, via Interactive Know How

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