Web 2.0, Dude, Who Cares, Where’s Phone 2.0?


The title isn't mine, it was from a 16 year-old kid that belongs to the wireless generation. His entire quote was,

“Web 2.0, dude, who cares, where’s Phone 2.0? The web is for old people and losers”.

What I've noticed is that teens are more connected than ever before, just not to the web, and usually not via PC. They don't care about 'social media' and Myspace was a fad. The kids I spoke to used it for two weeks or so, got bored and moved.

Their 'social network' is real, and when they aren't together in 'real life' they stay connected with their cell phones. They aren't using Digg, Netscape, Facebook or "Web 2.0". Even the few that have blogs might post once or twice a month and even the self-admitted 'geeks' sad that the Web is like a big commercial.

A few of them shop on the Web, but it's word of mouth advertising that influence their purchases, not ads on Myspace or blogs, unless one of their friends happen to blog about something. All of them said they use cell phones and text messaging much more than they surf the Web or use messengers.

I know they aren't the influencers now, but they will be. So where is all this social media stuff headed?


i am not so sure they are

i am not so sure they are influencers, IMO the influencers wont be the kids in the group but rather the kids that create the group. i think the group creators and the group participants will have different psychological motivations. of course no real evidence to support that, just my hunch.

in terms of where social media is headed i think the future is in reconstruction -- i.e. taking the freely distributed social stuff, filtering out the crap, and creating something useful that people want. essentially social media mashups.

Speed and trust is the key

One reason why google is on the out... it's too slow and it's getting caught out with the youtube fakers bs.

The reason why word of mouth via phones is key, is because of speed and trust.

Email is fast, but not a trusted space because of spam.
Search is behind the times and lacks trust because of spam.
So far, phones are better trusted because they deliver speed and trust hasn't been broken yet (it will eventually and phones will be spammed too).

Young people want to communicate with people who they trust or in a trusted environment and for the dialogue to be fast. They spot fakers very quickly and identify and ignore spam and loose trust very quickly.

So whatever space you want to work in, if you want young people to move in it, trust is your most precious asset and enabling a speedy conversation or exchange is crucial.


The iPhone looks like Phone 2.0 to me and I think that's where it's headed so we'll see what happens when they start shipping this summer.

Start building mobile versions of your site .. yesterday

I would strongly suggest doing a mobile version of your site... yesterday :)

What you mean phones not spammed!

Within days of getting a new phone my daughter was getting premium rate texts flooding her message box. (yeah she got conned somewhere along the line)

She's pretty much given up on the idea of having a mobile for the moment because of the levels of shit out there.

The phone spam is much nastier and more insidious than the email stuff, at least with the email stuff you have to physically put in your details before you get ripped off, all the phone stuff needs is a single reply and it takes it from there.

Phone spam-

Yeah, it's out there, but you have to actually subscribe to it before any gets sent. They call it dialware or vileware.

>>Speed and trust is the key

That seems to be it. They trust their friends and every thing they do is at a furious pace. There's no time to slow down, log on, upload a picture. With a phone pics are sent in seconds. And enjoyed for about that long. Why bother to log on and type when they can click one button and talk?

Why are teens the authority?

In the coming years, 70 million baby boomers will reach retirement age. With that comes free time and poor eyesight. I think they'd be more inclined to sit in front of a sweet new TV monitor or laptop than play around with a pocket-sized phone.

And maybe the whole web v. phone debate is more one of personality or even location. When I lived in DC - blackberries were all the rage. I don't see that nearly as much now that I'm back in North Carolina.

As always, know your audience.

I was just saying the other day...

I was just saying the other day, to my wife, that movies like Because I Said So might be more of the norm as the boomers get a little older.


Who said anything about teens being the authority? They're just one market segment. I'm talking about Silver Surfers somewhere else. ; )

>>And maybe the whole web v. phone debate is more one of personality or even location

Maybe, but the teens I was speaking to live in a rural area. The town I live in has a whopping 464 people living in it. The only difference I see in teens here and the teens that live in my sister's very urban town is the choice in music.

Yes, my research is very informal, but I've been trying to talk to as many teens and boomers as I can. Maybe when I get that government grant I can do some more formal studies.

What I find most interesting about the teens though, is that while they're very connected, they aren't connected in the way that a lot of those 'Web 2.0' boom reports seem to indicate.

I've written about the boomers taking to the social web, but they aren't considered influencers, they're adopters. The next generation is poised to have the largest impact on the Web, which is why I'm interested in finding out what they're up to now.

Sounds like you have better anti phone spam laws over in the US

In the UK, getting on the phone spam stuff seems very very easy.

I do agree with you about looking at where teens are heading and seeing if there are any decent opportunities in those fields.

There seems to be a real difference between builders and consumer on the web, most consumers just want a glorified TV type experience where all they do is interact with their entertainment. The web 2.0 promoters seem to want everyone joining together to build something big, which the consumers are not at all interested in.

Web 2.0 was a blip for young people

Young people are way beyond web 2.0, that was a blip, that mainly geeky kids got but the rest are demanding and using more. Web 2.0 didn't even happen on a wide scale, what is happening is just a general frustration with what is on offer and let down after let down (usually because of trust stuff ups). For example, google results more and more can't be trusted, myspace is a space where young people are reminded again and again someone wants to take advantage of them, youtube is becoming known as the place fakers try and pretend they are real. What ever direction a major player online takes itself, trust is the main thing they either have or stuff up or they just can't deliver on speed of communication.

Young people are only one segment, but they are great teachers and very vocal advocates (including beyond their age group). Parents ask their kids what net connections to use and more, including who to trust online, where it is safe to use your credit card for example. One demographic doesn't exist off somewhere by itself, demographics interact... especially age demographics.

Tail wagging the dog

In the 16-year-old group there are three kinds of people - those who have friends, those who pretend to have friends, and those who don't have any friends. Needless to say, that third, outcast group is probably the heaviest web users, which is why everyone feels it's so important to sneer at "the Web" as being for "old people and losers."

For most grownups - I mean people 25 and older - enough water has gone under the bridge (like needing to do actual research, or maintain a professional relationship with a client), the maturity level may lead to different uses of information than your previous "I need to make a show of having friends, or I must not have any" mentality.

Other things that are for "loser and old people" might include:

- job
- marriage
- child
- world travel not paid for by parents
- friends that don't attend a high school
- expertise in something
- etc.

Anyway, if the device is good, then the web is on the device. Surely checking sports scores, addresses, client background, and all those other old people and loser things may be doable on your mobile device. We can't all just yak with our friends on cellphones 24-7.

Translation: some of this is true...mobile devices will take off and the type of social site you belong to may change or not be the same as some boomer pundit thinks it is. However, some of it is just immature behavioral crap people grow out of by the time they turn 25.

Dominic has raised a good point

You would be surprised how many older people - boomers and those who are a little younger - who come into the computer store we're involved in to buy a computer based on the specs one of their kids or grandkids has scribbled down on a bit of paper.

They have no idea what they're asking for, they just think they can trust their kids to know what's best for them.

Usually the kids don't know and it can be hard convincing the customers that they really don't need a water-cooled system with twin overhead graphic cards and chromed RAM sticks all hooked up to a monitor the size of the wall in your office because they have almost blind faith in their kids to know what they need.

So don't think that there is no important connection between teenagers and the baby boomers because there is.

They are Influencers

... don't know if you all got a chance to read the report Brand Sirens: Tapping into the Super Influencer: What You Need to Know to Engage the Elusive Young Customer(PDF) that got released a few months ago. It will take a while to download but it's worth the read.

“CNET and Starcom questioned more than 10,000 young people through ethnographies, followed by online surveys and conversations. A small but significant portion of the respondents–between 15 and 20 percent–fell into a category dubbed “Brand Sirens.” Those sirens have a profound network effect on marketing through their ability to influence friends and family via word-of-mouth, viral video and applications such as instant messaging and Blogs, among other media.”

iPhone, Social Media, and other exciting stuff

Okay, so I play with search, web 2.0 stuff, and sit on the board for a mobile marketing firm (Cellit, if you're interested in what they do). Thus, I have the pleasure of looking at both PC-based interaction and phone-based interaction.

At a casual glance at the discussion, I think Digitalghost is right in terms of kids getting more involved with the phone, but look at the iPhone from the design perspective and you'll see that it is really just a PC masquerading as a phone...I don't think it'll be long (at least I hope) before the carriers are as open as the ISPs, so texting could be very common across IM clients in a trellian fashion. The fact that non .mobi tlds look so beautiful on the iphone gets me excited, because all that does is open up the number of devices that are going to be using established web-based services. Increase the upload/download speeds to the phone and it eventually won't matter if a person is connected to their phone or their PC, the screen size will be the only real hardware difference.

Convergance is still probably half a decade out, but we're getting there, and neither side will be losing out as the overall market of online users grows, overlapping to the point where the difference is a user-agent in your log file.

I couldn't have agreed with you more Cygnus

I have the feeling that companies and programmers have not jumped on the wml (html for the phone - sort of) bandwagon because they see the limitations of the phones (slow speed, small screen) and that has led to phone manufacturers trying to make the phones more like the laptop but smaller. Or it was just meant to go this way ...

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