This morning’s big event was me giving six back-to-back 20 minute presentations at Gilford (NH) Middle School’s Career Day. This was a combined event with all Gilford and all Gilmanton seventh graders. In my third year of doing this, I was surprised at how much has changed in just two years. In my first presentation in 2005 I spent a good deal of time talking about how technology was going to be changing quickly and that we were on the cusp of a major change … but I didn’t say what that change might be. Here we are two years later and I was able to use the same slides as the past two years but was able to provide examples of how technology is changing the lives of young people, and the impact technology will have on their careers.
Many of my questions were inspired by Guy Kawasaki’s panel discussion this past September where he invited young people to chat in front of a room full of middle-aged business owners about how they (the young people) use technology …€” attempting to determine if advertising is dead. Some of the things Guy found were FASCINATING! What I found during today’s sessions not only completely supported what Guy found, but took the findings to a whole new level. Guy’s panel was 18-24 year olds …€¦ high school and college aged youths. My group was middle schoolers.
Here’s what I learned today (data/numbers are my approximations):
- 70-80% of seventh graders own cell phones and 2/3 of them text message to friends.
- Most will text message 50-100 messages per month. A few will text as many as 800-1000 messages per month.
- 90%+ own mp3 players with an average of about 300 songs. All but just a couple owned iPods.
- 50-60% have a MySpace/FaceBook page. Of those that said they spend time on their page daily, 100% of them were girls.
- VERY few knew about Digg, Technorati, Flickr or Twitter. However, almost all of them knew about YouTube.
- Unlike past generations, they “get” technology and are comfortable with it. When presented with the idea that we’re all in the middle of a technology explosion, they asked questions and wanted to know more about it.
I suspect that in the next year, enough will have changed in technology and how young people communicate, I’ll have to dramatically change my slides … hmmmm, maybe I won’t even be using an archaic medium like Power Point. Check in here next year to find out how the presentation went.