Ben Smith became editor in chief of BuzzFeed in 2011 when the website known for its listicles and cat photos got into the business of breaking news.
Smith, an early hire at Politico, immediately built a reporting staff. BuzzFeed's mix of news and frivolity attracts more than 130 million visitors a month.
“You can’t trick people into sharing things. They have to really like it and be proud to share it.”
During a talk at the Nieman Foundation, Smith discussed social media as a news distribution channel, the importance of editors, the evolution of beats, the new hegemony of the article as a unit of media, and the value of brevity and high-energy reporters.
The “Kids of Today and Tomorrow Truly Global Exploration” study focused on what VIMN valls “last wavers,” or the youngest Millennials, born between 2003 and 2008. The findings point to several key traits that shape these kids’ world views and make them distinct from older members of this generational cohort.
Kids of today and tomorrow are more “we” than “me.”
The youngest Millennials extend their positive spirit to also include a commitment to community and the wider world around them.
88% believe it’s important to help people in the community, with 61% having taken part in an effort to raise money for charity in the past year.
94% believe it’s people’s responsibility to protect the environment.
Advances in digital media play a large part in broadening horizons and inspiring kids to use the power they have at their fingertips in a positive manner:
85% agree “my age group has the potential to change the world for the better.”
71% agree “having access to the internet changes the way I think about the world.”
However, they don’t see this as anything out of the ordinary or think of themselves as “techy”:
2 out of 3 kids think that being connected is as much a part of everyday life as eating and sleeping – it’s simply how life is today. As a consequence of being constantly connected in a fast-moving world, it is natural for them to constantly adapt and be open-minded. They are resilient and life-ready.
To reach these confident kids, it is important to communicate with them with a tone of positivity, smart but not cynical humor; and a playful approach, in line with the fun and happiness they seek in life.
Kids respond best to authentic brand messages: they recognize when someone is trying to sell them, so be honest.
It’s important to be both globally and locally relevant.
Kids of today and tomorrow are grounded.
Authenticity is a key value for kids today and they live with their feet firmly on the ground.
94% report wanting to be true to the close circle around them and 93% to be true to themselves. When it comes to the people who inspire them or the people they trust most, it’s all about close family and friends. They might feel inspired by celebrities and sports stars, but they know not to trust them.
49% of the youngest Millennials name a family member as their #1 best friend– rising as high as 90% in Morocco and 87% in Brazil.
Kids of today and tomorrow are confident.
Today’s youngest Millennials are overwhelmingly happy and optimistic.
88% consider themselves very happy, with happiness levels in this age group increasing over last six years.
Spending time with family and friends is the top factor generating happiness in most countries. Young Millennials enjoy doing activities together as a family.
Humor is important to young Millennials, who use it strategically to navigate life: 64% agree “I use humor to help me get my way.”
Happiness outweighs stress by a factor of 3 to 1: while almost 9 in 10 young Millennials describe themselves as very happy, only 24% report high levels of stress, with stress levels falling since 2006.
Kids today are re-calibrating their sense of what it is to be stressed as well as happy: they have grown up in a world of constant change and global economic crisis – for them, this is the norm.
Even in Greece, where the economic crisis is particularly acute, stress levels are only 36%. The highest stress levels among 9-14s are actually in Singapore and China (41% and 39%) – caused almost certainly by the highly pressured education systems in those countries.
In general, the youngest Millennials are characterized by an optimism with which they approach challenges: 90% agree “I can accomplish anything if I work hard enough” and 89% agree “I always try to be positive.”
At the global level, these high levels of happiness, low stress and growing positivity are combining to form a “virtuous circle” of mutual support that helps kids create an overall sense of confidence.
Belief in themselves: 65% believe not only that they are smart but also that they are smarter than other people.
Belief in their future: Despite everything, a large majority (84%) believe they will earn more than their parents
Belief in their generation: This is the winning generation … the expression “#winning” suits them perfectly and is acknowledged by many more 9-14s than by older Millennials (77% vs. 66% of 15-30s)
Belief in their creativity: 89% believe their creativity will help them to keep on winning in a fast-paced world.
Kids of today and tomorrow are simultaneously more and less sheltered.
The difference is very clearly defined: in the real world, they are much more sheltered than in the past, with parents restricting and controlling their interactions with everything. However, given advances in technology and access to a wide range of devices, there is often relatively little protection – kids have unprecedented exposure to global ideas and images.
43% own their own computer/laptop and 28% own a smartphone.
61% have a social media account (and 11 years is the average age for having a first account – despite being below the age threshold set by many social platforms’ Terms & Conditions).
9-14s have 39 online “friends” they have never met (up from five since 2006).
Kids of today and tomorrow are proud to be.
The youngest Millennials are increasingly expressing a sense of affinity with their country. Their sense of national pride is growing stronger and they are more likely than six years ago to believe it’s important to maintain their country’s traditions.
87% agree that they are “proud to be [their ethnicity]” up from 81% in 2006.
79% agree “it’s important to maintain my country’s traditions,” up from 60% in 2006.
At the same time, they are tolerant of other cultures: 74% think it’s great to have people from other countries living in the kid’s country.
This VIMN study is based on 6,200 interviews with the 9-14 age group (at the time of research, born 1998-2003, which we have defined as “last wavers” within the Millennial generation) across 32 countries (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, US, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Poland, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa).
Video is also available in the following languages:
"It's almost too easy to agree with the majority and think, "People are right, technology is destroying the human connection." But I think just the opposite.
Technology brings people together. Shocking, I know? It sounds like some crazy marketing ploy, and many commercials support that. But the fact is, it's the truth.
I can talk to one of my friends in California, Canada or Taiwan with the touch of a button. Technology has helped me forge lifelong connection with people I would have lost touch with ordinarily. I can say I talk to more people now, whether it be through Facebook, texting or tweeting, than I did three years ago. And for the argument that nothing compares to face-to-face conversation?
I'd love to engage and be a part of that, but the fact of the matter is, without Skype or Google Hangouts, I wouldn't be able talk to a large portion of my friends. I'm not trying to advocate for technology to replace all forms of in person conversation, I'm just trying to suggest the stigma attached to it isn't necessarily just."
19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,
900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.
Many times parents may not know that their child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. There are so many resources available for teens in crisis. Here are some organizations leading the charge to help teens in crisis.
It's important to have the discussion with your kids to let them know if they or one of their friends are suffering from depression or threatening to harm themselves they need to immediately tell an adult, teacher or direct them to one of these crisis providers. If they feel there is an eminent threat, call 911.
Mobile is having the biggest impact on how college students apportion their screen time. Daily time spent on the computer and watching TV decreased in 2013, while daily time spent with the mobile phone and tablet were up by about 18 minutes each, compared with 2012.
But even if daily time spent watching TV is diminishing, a considerable 60% of college students reported owning a flat-screen TV; and TV viewing was still a major portion of students’ media time, clocking in at 2.8 hours per day. While time spent on the computer or mobile may be higher, activity on these devices can run the gamut—from using a word processing program for schoolwork to making a phone call.
By comparison, when students turn on the TV, it is to watch a program, even if using other devices is a corollary part of the experience.
The study found that eight out of 10 college students reported using a second screen at least a few times a week while watching TV. Only 13% did so less than once a week, or not at all.
The most popular activity students engaged in while watching TV was using Facebook or Twitter, at 63% of respondents. Social TV can be boon to TV marketers and advertisers, but there is always the possibility that social networks are merely distractions from TV content.
Surfing the web was the next most common activity while watching TV, at 58% of respondents, while half also reported playing games. Schoolwork wasn’t completely forgotten while students vegged out in front of the television, though—37% said they did homework or research while watching TV.
And in a sign that the second screen may be an opportunity for TV marketers and advertisers to gain student viewers’ extra attention, about one-quarter of students looked up the TV schedule on a second screen, and about the same percentage shopped. (Source)
In a recent survey, MTV Insights set out to understand the younger end of the Millennial demo, 13-17 year olds, who will soon move into the “sweet spot” of MTV’s core target demographic of 18-24 year olds.
This is a landmark generational study that builds on MTV’s long legacy of deeply understanding their audience, as part of an effort to constantly reinvent ourselves and stay at the bleeding edge of youth culture.
One of the most interesting findings?
Of those who repsonded, 57% reported that they like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands…and 82% agree “when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to stop and just do one thing at a time." As Julia, 17 puts it “When I craft I’m in the zone, it really soothes me."
With social media, crafts & baked goods are granted a “second life" and serve an important function in helping hone one’s personal self-brand. We see teens today even more adept at developing their unique persona from a young age, realizing both the need to stand out to get social media likes and, moreover, showcase a unique side to get noticed in a highly competitive college admission process.
Why are younger Millennials so stressed?
They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.
These pragmatic youth are natural preppers in the face of an unpredictable world – whether planning for physically safety in light of violence or prepping for their futures in a more uncertain economic climate.
Accustomed to high school intruder drills, they are always in “exit strategy” mode, withover a third agreeing they “plot out escape plans when in public places, because of events like Sandy Hook.”Although half are scared of violence at school, they seem to have adopted a practical “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality.
YMs are consciously taking time to self-soothe (a classic coping mechanism from hyper-stimulation) disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs. They “mono-task” and focus on immersive hands-on activities like baking, sewing or crafting. They claim their dependence on social media is overrated: one girl says “My parents Facebook more than I do.”
8 in 10 young Millennials agree that “Sometimes I just need to unplug and enjoy the simple things”
82% agree “when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to stop and just do one thing at a time”
57% like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands
54% of 14-17 year old girls say baking makes them feel less anxious
This is the first generation of “digital latchkey kids.” Though increasingly physically protected by parents, teens’ web behavior is not as closely monitored. But like the Gen X Latchkey Kids who created their own rules and regimes while parents worked, youth today are surprisingly filtering out what’s overwhelming to them online: avoiding certain Youtube videos or sites that they think are gross, inappropriate or disturbing.
They’re slimming down their social networks and finding niche/private places to share in a controlled environment, whether it’s Snapchat or a locked Instagram feed.
Unlike older Millennials who were pioneers in the “Wild West of social media,” today’s teens are “tech homesteaders” – they’re more savvy about how to use the internet, build "gated" groups, "hide in plain view", curate and filter.
Today the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rolled out the biggest changes to the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) since its launch in 1998.
For those of you not familiar with the law, COPPA regulates what information and data can be collected on children under 13.
The regulations relate to all aspects of privacy protection and are intended to give parents complete control over their children’s personal information.
The refreshed COPPA rules take effect on July 1, 2013 and focus largely on the explosion of mobile devices, geolocation, mobile photography, social networking and app use by children under the age of 13.
How you see the world is at the heart of Instagram, turning it into the digital version of high school, complete with its own cliques and cast of characters.
If you think about it, it’s not a surprise. After all, the idea at the heart of the social network is to use photos as a unique expression of your personality.
So when you choose what to capture and how to filter to get the right effect, you’re not just composing a shot, you’re revealing who you are. And like high school, those masterpieces peg you into broad archetypes, creating a Breakfast Club 2.0, if you will, for the 21st century.
Instead of jocks and cheerleaders roaming the halls or the cool clique smoking in the bathroom, you have visionaries, fashionistas, artistes and proud parents, each with their unique slant on the world, as well as hidden neuroses that make them human.
No matter what effect you lean towards or how much you crop, ultimately, you filter your sense of identity through the same lens that started to develop in high school — and it’s what you carry through life, whether you realize it or not.
Social media and text messaging have assumed a dominant role in communication among adolescent society. And, as common in teenage social environments, these circumstances often involve online teasing and harassing. This has become known as “bullying.”
Delaware state Attorney General, Beau Biden, describes cyber bullying as a communication that “interferes with a student's physical well-being, is threatening or intimidating, or is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it is likely to limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational programs of the school.”
According to Delaware Online, the state recently implemented a law enforcing that schools penalize cyber bullying issues the same as they would for incidents that happen within school walls.
Many states have begun to implement similar laws enforcing stricter punishments for those engaged in cyber bullying, and sometimes the victims are not only teens. NPR recently addressed a North Carolina law that was passed to protect teachers against bullying from their students.
A teacher at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School had a student create a fake Twitter account under the teacher's identity, and posted offensive comments. Under new laws, students charged with such offenses could potentially face a month in jail and fines of up to $1,000.00.
The recent International Journal of Technoethics article “Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach” evaluates the concepts of bullying and cyber bullying and addresses the emerging nature of these occurrences: “Cyberbullying has become a major social concern because it raises questions about the ethical use of technology.
In recent years, this has been the subject of research and information and prevention activities for different groups such as governmental and non-governmental organizations and schools and parents’ associations to protect against the misuse of technology.”
Written by José Neves and Luzia de Oliveira Pinheiro of the University of Minho, Portugal, the article features studies evaluating Portuguese University students in observation and focus groups, interviews, and investigations that aims to explore and define the characteristics of cyberbullying in Portugal.
UK teens have a significant presence online and are at the leading edge of many digital behaviors, according to a survey conducted by Research Now and initiated by K&A BrandResearch.
When UK teens go online—whether via PC or mobile—using search engines to seek out information is their No. 1 activity, in line with the ubiquity of this action among older age groups as well.
The next two most popular activities showed the ways in which teens’ digital priorities may somewhat diverge from older consumers.
Just about 80% of UK teens said they went online to visit social networks. And another seven out of 10 used the internet to listen to music. These responses beat out email, watching video and playing games as teens’ primary digital activities.
Quick. Here's a test: Stand-up straight with your feet together in front of a mirror and look for a space between your upper thighs. If you see a gap, you have the latest body image obsession teen girls are starving themselves to achieve.
The 'thigh gap', as it is known, is a new teen girl obsession with a huge following on social media sites like Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram.
The trend is fueled by digital media and magazines that feature celebrities with the elusive 'thigh gap'---which is, in most cases, the work of a highly skilled Photoshop guru and not so much based on reality.
Exposure to this dangerous body image trend is just an app click away---girls can read tweets from Supermodel Cara Delevingne about her thigh gap on Twitter or scroll through thousands of thigh gaps on Tumblr with images of ultrathin women in bikinis, super short skirts, and lingerie, all baring thighs so thin they don't touch.
Whether or not this is a widespread trend or just a blip across teen culture is yet to be seen. However, this is another example of where parents, teachers and youth pastors need to step-in and faciliate a discussion about body image, social media and celebrity culture with their kids.
And remember, body image issues aren't just a 'teen girl' issue.