The panle on what teens want was hosted by Safa Rashtchy who asked questions of 5 teenagers. There were three males and two females.

Earlier in the day, I was chatting with Mike and I pointed out that all through th econference I hadn't heard mention of the kind of Web apps that excite the younger generation. I hadn't heard MySpace mentioned once, and the only times instant messaging came up was in the context of Skype being sold to eBay for $4 billion. The Web 2.0 conference seemed dedicated to applications mostly of interest to the twenty five and over crowd.

This changed during the session when Safa Rashtchy questioned the teenagers about various aspects of their computer usage. The notes summary below is mainly from memory since I didn't take notes during this session.

Three out of five of the teenagers used MySpace. One of them said he spends all his free times waiting for comments to his space. Another teenager said she had stopped using MySpace when she went to college because it was too "high school" and now she used Facebook which was more college oriented.

One of the teenagers said he spent up to $50 a month on ring tones. Four of them had iPods and all of them rarely [if ever] paid for music.  It seemed thay had all tried the iTunes Music Store at one time or the other but eventually succumbed to the lure of file sharing networks.

They all used AOL Instant Messenger and one other IM client. Two used MSN Messenger mainly because they had friends outside the US (Mexico & Brazil) and MSN Messenger is very popular outside the US. One or two used Yahoo! Messenger. None of them used Skype and in fact they sounded like they had never heard of it. They didn't seem interested

They all used Google for search.

Two of them had used eBay but worried about being ripped off online.  

When asked what kind of applications they'd like to see on the Web. They asked for "more free stuff" and "get rid of spyware".

The most amusing part of the session was when Safa was trying to find out what eCommerce sites they'd visit. He first asked where they'd buy a cellular phone and each kid said they'd go to the website of their current cellular service provider. Then Safa tried another tack and asked where they'd buy a CD player online and the first kid went "CD Player?" with the same tone of voice and expression on his face I'd have if asked where I could buy a record player online. The audience found this hilarious.

PS: This panel is almost identical to a similar one at the Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium 2005 held earlier this year. MSR has a video of that panel available online.


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