The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released the report, Generations Online in 2009. Data was gathered from over 2,000 people to show what different generations do online. Probably not too many surprises, though I do wonder if they ever ask adults who state that they *always* use email more than teens, yes, but do you like it?’. Lately, I have been thinking that there is a lot to learn from teens (albeit there’s always a lot to learn from teens) who don’t use email on the whole as often as adults.
It is not uncommon for me to send hree emails about the same topic to someone before they respond, or before I decide to use another mode of communication. Dating myself here, but it reminds me of the scene in Ferris Bueller where the overly monotone teacher calls out Ferris’ name over and over and no one responds.
According to the report:
- Teens and those 18-32 use the Internet for entertainment and communicating with family and friends
- Online videos, online games, virtual worlds, and downloading music are more often what younger users engage in
- Reading blogs, commenting, and setting up profiles are more common for teens
- Using social networking and Instant Messaging (IM’ing) are popular ways to keep up with friends
The report also talks about what other generations mainly use the Internet for. What can we learn from each other about how we communicate with those we serve, as well as how we can have teens and those older working and learning together, are some things to think about when reading the research.
Having policies that support IM’ing, offering it as a service to patrons, providing a way or information on downloading music legally, and promoting online games are all ways we can try to reach out to our teens. If our administrators are blocking these capabilities, hopefully reports like thiswill help make the case to at least beta test something.
Try one of the technologies that according to the report aren’t as popular for the generation you represent -even if it’s just with your colleagues. Feel free to comment on what the experience was like.