As I write this it is Sunday night and I am getting some work done while the Teen Choice Awards are on the TV in the background. At this same time my youngest brother Alec, a teenager, is packing for college. As we grow up and older we tend to lose touch with the younger generations coming after us, without realizing it. Alec, jokingly and in little brother fashion, tends to make sure I remember this whenever I see him. Joking or not though, he is right.
It is important we pay attention and realize what is happening across all living generations. Especially those generations that can drive a wave of change through industries. The youngest generations are still refining their tastes as they age and because of that they are incredibly powerful. Like a bull in a china shop deciding which new app to take off the shelf.
Some of those businesses in the last few years which captured the attention of teenagers and were marked as early successes by them include Yik Yak, Vine, Jott and of course Snapchat. According to a recent Pew Research study, 71% of teenagers use multiple social media services. 52% of teens are on Instagram, 41% on Snapchat, 33% on Twitter, and 24% on Vine.
Most of these businesses have a common core. They allow teenagers to create. To create videos, messages, threads, and new content. On a day to day basis teens get the option to create something much more than other recent generations. They are the first age group to grow up completely from being a little kid while knowing what a Like, Retweet, or Fav is. And they are getting good at it. Teens are getting to be highly skilled with the ability to create. They are not happy with simply consuming others creations.
I think that was reinforced at Sunday nights Teen Choice Awards. The final awards of the night were not for Best Picture (Oscars) or Record of the Year (Grammys). Both awards that typically require the backing of massive corporations, studios, and labels in order to win. Sundays "Finale" awards were for Best Web Star.
We are seeing that this new class of teens is a group that admires and prefers authentic creations over what the generic media, studios, and labels pushes at them. Don't worry though, advertisers always find a way to get in with were the target audiences have shifted their gaze.
For now though, Bethany Mota won best Female Web Star and Cameron Dallas won best Male Web Star. Two people who created a following of millions, using platforms that are driven almost solely by the end user. I should also add they were the most happy, passionate, and excited about winning the award. That too felt more authentic.
So, to my point, and I will be sure to check in with my younger brothers if I am right or not, but I believe that removing the filters of traditional broadcasting and reaching an audience directly is clearly more powerful and will only continue to grow in power as this class of teens becomes adults. I think these teenagers will not only increase this trend, but hammer it home. This will be the future. The teenagers have already stated it as so.