recentpopularlog in

jerryking : capriciousness   1

Snap Out of It: Kids Aren't Reliable Tech Predictors - WSJ.com
Nov. 17, 2013 | WSJ | By Farhad Manjoo.

First, Snapchat's main selling point is ephemerality. Users who send a photo and caption using the app can select how long the image is viewable. Second, and relatedly, Snapchat is used primarily by teens and people in college. This explains much of Silicon Valley's obsession with the company....tech execs, youngsters are the canaries in the gold mine.

That logic follows a widely shared cultural belief: We all tend to assume that young people are on the technological vanguard, that they somehow have got an inside scoop on what's next. If today's kids are Snapchatting instead of Facebooking, the thinking goes, tomorrow we'll all be Snapchatting, too, because tech habits, like hairstyles, flow only one way: young to old.

There is only one problem with elevating young people's tastes this way: Kids are often wrong....Incidentally, though 20-something tech founders like Mr. Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates get a lot of ink, they are unusual.... "The twentysomething inexperienced founder is an outlier, not the norm," ...If you think about it for a second, the fact that young people aren't especially reliable predictors of tech trends shouldn't come as a surprise. Sure, youth is associated with cultural flexibility, a willingness to try new things that isn't necessarily present in older folk. But there are other, less salutary hallmarks of youth, including capriciousness, immaturity, and a deference to peer pressure even at the cost of common sense. This is why high school is such fertile ground for fads. And it's why, in other cultural areas, we don't put much stock in teens' choices. No one who's older than 18, for instance, believes One Direction is the future of music....Is the app just a youthful fad, just another boy band, or is it something more permanent; is it the Beatles?

To figure this out, we would need to know why kids are using it. Are they reaching for Snapchat for reasons that would resonate with older people—because, like the rest of us, they've grown wary of the public-sharing culture promoted by Facebook and Twitter? Or are they using it for less universal reasons, because they want to evade parental snooping, send risqué photos, or avoid feeling left out of a fad everyone else has adopted?

At this point no one knows, probably not even the people who make Snapchat. For now,That's reason enough to be wary of Snapchat's youthful vigor.
capriciousness  customer_risk  developmental_change  ephemerality  fads  Farhad_Manjoo  generational_change  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  immaturity  impermanence  invisibility  leading_indicators  motivations  peer_pressure  predictors  Silicon_Valley  Snapchat  snooping  transient  trends  young_people  youth 
november 2013 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read