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Engaging Youth?. I don’t think we should!. Let me say it plainly. Our goal is to inform and engage whomever is most appropriate. This will SOMETIMES be youth bu t not always. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Slide 1

Engaging Youth?

I dont think we should!Let me say it plainly. Our goal is to inform and engage whomever is most appropriate. This will SOMETIMES be youth but not always.

To the extent that youth is interested and influential in a particular program area, they will be included naturally.

However, prime time for influencing and being influenced is the 25-45 demographic.

Most 18 year olds are not ready, willing or able to absorb our messages. Engaging them is a goal we cannot reach in most serious subject areas. Why?We are in the public affairs business NOT the advertising Business. Our product is complicated and requires long-term commitment. The youth market tends not to be amenable to such things.

The new media does NOT disproportionately empower youth. You will see a continued diminution in the relative influence of the young. Marketers and politicians are insufficiently aware of this and it is already biting them.

We call it the new media or the social media. Technologies are new, but the methods return to earlier times when communication was individualized, personal and interactive. The forum might no longer be a place where you go physically, but social media is still SOCIAL media, a place to meet and interact.

The mass media of the 20th Century was a break with the past. It deemphasized individuals and mashed them into masses. Our new media is more a restoration - a restoration on steroids that travels literally at the speed of light, but the lessons of anthropology (people) trump technology (machines.)

When technology gets more complicated, it often get easier to use more transparent. When it gets easier to use, more people use it. Look at connectedness. Early adapters were young, cutting edge and tech savvy. Today the fastest growing user segment of Facebook is retired or close to it. Those least familiar with the newest technologies find them no harder to use than a telephone. Thats progress. (BTW A telephone is plenty complicated.)

Harder to know your audience New media opens new audiences. We have always looked for those who connect and influence others. It used to be easier. We found editors, teachers, celebrities and we tried to get them while they were young. Now we often cannot know who is influential until AFTER they have shown influence. And even the most savvy public affairs people can be blindsided. And then we dont know if their influence is just a one-time deal or persistent. A dynamic analysis of your audience is more crucial than ever.

Nobody can ever keep up with all technology. You dont have to. It is getting easier to use. The day of the techno- geek is done as we greet the dawn of the social connector.

So Lets talk a little about the social human aspects of the new media.

Humans are social creatures. We make important decisions by taking our cues from people & referencing relationships. The new media has expanded the scope by weakening or breaking down barriers of time and space that separated people. Information in the new media is almost free. Our task is to create communities and social context in which our message is taken up and understood.

This means ENGAGE. When you are engaged you participate and listen to your audience, now better called your community. Engagement means influencing your community but also being willing to be influenced by them.

I am almost done, so let me give you targeted bullet points to take home.

Social Media is SOCIAL. Look beyond technologies to communities.

Iterative - Success in new media means is continuous learning - an iterative process, not a plan and it is never finished. Engage means you want to influence others AND you are willing to be influenced by others.

Community - Build a community & be part of a community. Figure out what you can contribute and do it. Remember people make decisions in the contexts of their communities.

Inclusive & Exclusive - Communities are inclusive of members and exclusive to others. You attract nobody if you appeal to everybody. You have to earn membership in any community worth joining.

Personal or at least personalized. Editors and marketers have tried for years to homogenize for the mass market. Niche markets and the new media is just a series of niche markets requires personality.

Fun - We underestimate the importance of fun & games. (This does, BTW, apply especially to youth.)

Try something. New media provides opportunity. You risk a lot more by doing nothing that trying things that fail. Iterative progress requires failure. If you fall, get up. Just make the jump.

Questions?www.johnsonmatel.com/blog1