A recent post by ED Lynch highlighted the world of competitive high school robotics. Mr. Lynch says, “Some kids play football in school. Other kids build bone-crushing combat robots with the expressed purpose of dismembering competing bots in thrilling caged-death matches.” A new documentary called Bots High by Joey Daoud follows three teams of high school robotics geeks who build and battle their way to a national robotics competition in Miami.
It’s a familiar scene for most of us: you log onto your Facebook account, and panic ensues when you see you’ve been friend requested by none other than…AN ADULT. This person could be your mom, dad, distant relative, or coworker. No matter this person’s relation to you, the following questions will probably run through your mind: Has this person somehow seen my profile already? What pictures do I have to un-tag now? How do I do that whole limited profile thing again? It’s as though your space is being invaded in a way you never saw coming. Who would have thought your mom would seriously join Facebook? Or your 60-year-old boss? Neither of them needs to see what bar you were at last weekend, or read the inside jokes splashed across your wall. So what to do now? I can think of several people who’ve censored their profiles after being friended by one of these so-called “adults” that seem to be flocking to Facebook lately.
So why the sudden spike in baby boomers on Facebook? Statistics show that baby boomers are using social networking sites as a way to network, research, or connect with old friends. Gen Y’ers, on the other hand, use them to share personal details and reach out to a large group of peers. Although the two generations are using social networking for different reasons, some say it’s beneficial to have such a wide age gap in the user base. One reason is that it varies the type of information that’s distributed. Also, baby boomers may have a thing or two to teach Gen Y’ers about online safety. Gen Y’ers are much more likely than other age groups to divulge personal info on the web, which could lead to potentially harmful situations. At the very least, it could be fun teaching the old folks proper Facebook etiquette, and watching them attempt to seem hip with the times. So although it initially feels like baby boomers are crashing the Facebook party, it might not be so bad after all. In fact, it could be a great way to bridge the gap and bring us all together.
Last year, teenagers were probably dumbfounded when they set out to get summer jobs and found few to choose from; 2008 had the lowest teen employment rate in 60 years. It’s a pretty good assumption that this summer will be just as bad, if not worse. This means less money for teens to spend at our nation’s malls. A recent report by Piper Jaffery & Co. said teens have cut their clothing budgets by 14% in the past six months. Will this trend continue into the back-to-school buying season? This cut in spending should remind us that teens have the ability to prioritize their purchases, and some brands are going to lose out. But don’t be too quick to think that it’s all based on price. Teens will still drop $120 on a pair of jeans if they think they have to have them. They’ll just make up for it somewhere else. This reality is already making back-to-school planning a challenge. So, what should youth brand marketers do?