Each young person lives in their own personal mobile universe, and each mobile universe is unique.

Posted 15 Jul 2011


I had to go to the dentist, BAD dental pain – not pleasant, I was evil. I took a book to distract myself. I tweeted, I was sat on chair with book, The Third Screen by Chuck Martin. 10 mins later, tweet from the Author – ‘No way!” I hear you say, I muttered something far ruder. Anyway, author and I tweeted away and he kindly gave his permission for me to post a blog about his book and the implication of young people’s use of mobile devices and impact on youth provisions and educational establishments.

The Book – THE THRID SCREEN; Marketing to your customers in a world gone mobile.
Chuck Martin, Director of the Centre for Media Research in New York & former Vice President of IBM.



Chuck Martin defines the implications, strategies and tactics to survive and thrive in business in a world gone mobile. The book links the technological developments to the behavioral changes that go hand-in-hand and reveals the unexpected aspects of the coming changes in mobile, preparing marketers and businesspeople for what lies just around the corner. The world has gone mobile and it is about to change everything! He highlights case studies of the mobile innovators, ranging from large to small brands, and the mobile platform providers of the future. He clarifies for marketers the role of m-Commerce, mobile video, SMS messaging, location-based marketing, advertising and media, and the new laws of inbound marketing. (http://www.thirdscreenrevolution.com/mobile/about/)
A few facts:
Five billion people in the world have mobile devices.
That is 73% of the entire population of the world
Mobile penetration in United Kingdom 131% Mobile subscribers 80,375,400 (1)
Today over 200 million people access Facebook through their mobile device

“Ok, but why are you reviewing this book when you work with young people?” I found this book to be insightful, easy to read and full of examples of how to use and not to use mobile devices to engage your ‘customer’. The ‘customers’ I work with are ‘young people’ I wanted to learn the trends of how they source information, their consumption habits and purchasing patterns through mobile devices – I was not disappointed. Below I have taken extracts from the first few chapters of Chuck Martins book and contextualised his knowledge within youth work and educational professional practice.

Young People & their mobile phone – Intimate relationship
The relationship of a young person to their mobile device is not the passive ‘lean back’ of TV or the more active ‘lean forward’ of a PC, but rather the fully interactive ‘pull it forward’ of mobile. Its up close, it’s personal and it’s always on. Television allowed one-way communication from companies to many consumers. The arrival of the personal computer fostered interactivity; it enabled youth organisations and educational establishments to share, promote and advertise local youth provisions, support services and events. With the arrival of social media platforms this allowed young people to comment, share & post digital content easily among their peer group through their PC and mobile phone.

With the advent of mobile devices young people can now communicate with each other directly, in private and share information and opinions instantaneously not only in real time but also as they move from one location to another. Information can be stored and shared with peer groups as required at a later date either constructively or in a malsiulous manner. Ofcom also found that the number of weekly text messages sent by the 12 to 15-year age group has grown from just 54 texts a week in 2007 to a whopping 113 texts nowadays(2).

TV is no longer the “most-missed media”, a new report by Ofcom has found, with 28% of 16 to 24-year olds questioned admitting that they’d miss their phones more than the telly. Only 23% of the surveyed age group said they’d miss TV more than their mobiles (3). It’s personal – a mobile phone is an individuals device. It is not shared like a computer or watched in a group like a TV. It is in a person’s hand, or pocket or purse. It is taken with that person when they leave the house, go to school and/or youth club. The communications from that mobile device is personal, texts to family members, friends and social network connections. Each young person will have their own screen saver and ring tone. For youth providers and educational establishments to interact and engage with young people through mobile devices they needs to be invited in.

Implications on how to engage young people in the future – Untethered Consumer
Within the business sector this new wave of digital mobility is leading to what they refer to as the ‘untethered consumer’. Untethered consumers are freed from the constraint of awaiting a broadcast message or any form of traditional online communication from a company. Young people are post PC- consumers and always on the move, and are willing and able to use their always-on mobile technology to act and interact with each other and with products (ringtones/download music/order clothes) and services they seek (youtube/itunes store/fashion/pornography). They are in control and accustomed to consuming information and sharing it within their peer group. The challenge for youth providers and educational establishments is to offer practical, appealing and engaging information to young people through their mobile devices. It is essential for this to be ‘credible’ so they will want to share it through their social network.

Untethered consumers reply on their peers for recommendations and they trust the recommendations of others more than the promotional messages. When an untethered young person loves or hates something they will let others know in real time through various online platforms (comments on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or posting an entry on Tublumr). Young people determine from their peer group both online and offline the collective view of a youth provision or educational establishment, & these views can be correct or misconceptions. Hence it is imperative to be ‘online’ listening, sharing and signposting. The word of mouth transmission is an example of mobile technology being a pull rather than a push medium, with untethered mobile young people connecting with each other and sharing tips on what works for them. In a world gone mobile, the masses of young people are talking (and marketing) to each other. However, consumption of content and distribution is controlled by each individual young person.


Part of the adoption cycle of new technology amongst young people is driven through recommendations from peer groups – word of mouth. EG one young person searches for information but sees another doing essentially the same via a mobile app and the information is appealing, easy to understand and relevant. This will engage them to ask about the mobile app, functionality, easy of use and quality of information. Another element of the adoption cycle involves learning about a new way of searching and sharing information via mobile devices.

Practical applications of mobile devices within professional everyday practice:

Standing up Medium – mobile removes all the content consumption constraints of previous media. Mobile is the ultimate digital communication media while in transit. For example:

Social worker conducts a home visit, during discussion with young person (14 yrs old) about their future aspirations is able to access internet and share careers information and advice websites. Is also able to text/email them directly to that young persons mobile phone.

Teacher has delivered a lesson on mathematics for an up coming GCSE exam, some students were struggling with some of the course content or stressed about the upcoming exam. Teacher is able to text web-links of the ‘lesson blog’ to each students along with web-links to online maths advice websites.

Call to action capability – young person has their mobile and it is 90% of the time switched on and the mindset of that young person can be well determined based on factors including time and location. Because of these capabilits and the intimate nature of the mobile device, youth providers and educational establishments can issue an on-the-spot call to action to the young person

Example: Youth elections in an local area. Young people can be notified of when, where and how to vote via text, video or audio message. Youtube film clip sent to young people about each of the candidates.

Teenage pregnancies spike after the christmas festive season; messages and information can be shared appropriately with young people about how to keep safe and prevent pregnancies, where to access sexual information and emergency contraception. A sexual health app could be created and shared with young people.

Platforms Win – Platforms (Facebook/Youtube/Goggle) are widely accessible by mobile phones so that young people can easily tap in and access any relevant or desired content or information at any time. Theses mobile platforms come in a variety of categories; online video platforms, mobile social network platforms, text message platforms, video messaging platforms.

Are youth providers and educational establishments creating and providing accessible information through these mobile platforms for young people to access, share and comment on?

Less is more – In the world gone mobile, less is more. Youth provisions and educational establishments need to think ‘small bite size chunks’ not think small ideas but about quick, focused delivering. Because of the size of a mobile device screen it can not hold as much information as a webpage. Young people tend to consumer content through a mobile device in ‘short bites’ while on the go. It is easier to consume a little at a time, since mobile phone use us more of a continuous cycle than an event.

Questions for consideration
What phones do the young people you are working with using?
What phones do the young people we are ‘outreaching’ to using?
Are they using text and/or video messages?
What mobile services do the young people use?
What are young people doing with their mobile phones?
What will young people be likely to do with their mobile phones in the future?
Are young people accessing the internet through their mobile phones?
How do young people like to receive and share information amongst peer group?

Organisational considerations:
Is there general agreement that mobile use if at critical mass by the young people you engage with?
What is the potential to reach young people through mobile devices?
What information, support, advice will be being shared through mobile devices?
How does the content need to be modified to be consumer in ‘bit sized’ portions?
What information can be shared through text?
How can engaging young people through mobile devices ‘enhance, strengthen and compliment’ the face-to-face interventions?
How is marketing through mobile devices different to websites or a social network.

I would like to thank Chuck Martin for writing this book, tweeting me while I sat in the dental lounge and for allowing me to post this blog. I shall publishing a longer article in my up coming social media publication – watch this space!

References:
(1)ITU world Telecommunication
(2)Young people love mobiles more than TV, James Sherwood – 20/04/2011- http://www.mobilechoices.co.uk/young-people-love-mobiles-more-than-tv-200411.html
(3) Young people love mobiles more than TV, James Sherwood – 20/04/2011- http://www.mobilechoices.co.uk/young-people-love-mobiles-more-than-tv-200411.html)

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2 Responses

  1. admin - 16 Jul 2011 |

    Firstly really impressed by the gracious attitude of Chuck Martin, genuine ’social capital’ in action. The longer version will explore the vulnerability and child protection considerations with suggestions to minimise these risks. The main objective is to encourage young people to ‘critically reflect about their online actions’ and to develop the digital media competencies to make informed choices underpinned with emotional resilience.

    Stephen Carrick-Davies has just released a superb report commissioned by the Training Deveoplemnat agency – Munch, Poke, Ping – Vulnerable young people, social media and e-safety. The focus of the research was to consider the risks which vulnerable young people, excluded from schools and being taught in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), encounter online and through their mobile phones. The aim was to then ascertain what specific advice, support and safeguarding training staff working with these vulnerable young people need when it comes to understanding social media and mobile technology.

    Stephen shares that “New social media web has changed the platform to that of an incubator; a place where communication is captured, aggregated, added to, morphed, changed and re-hatched as a new broadcast or ping.” I would agree with this and recommend that more research and training needs to be offered to young people to develop the emotional resiliance and practical skills to manage what information is posted online and to consider the impact on their future professional careers.

    “Not all children are the same, that it is beholden on those responsible for introducing new services that they make their privacy setting options simple and easy for all users – and in this regard there are many vulnerable adults who need instruction and support.” Stephen, 2011

    MUNCH POKE PING http://www.carrick-davies.com/research/vulnerable-young-people
    You tube interview with Stephen conducted by me: http://youtu.be/Bqp6Zi6TDrQ

  2. Munch, Poke, Ping – Acceptable Use Policy for mobile phones & social Media. « Online Youth Outreach - 26 Jan 2012 |

    [...] Check out previous blogs to learn more about the MUNCH, POKE, PING project: Sensationalization of online risk, Munch-Poke-Ping, Twitter & Facebook Time-line Each young person lives in their own personal mobile universe, and each mobile universe is unique. [...]

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