Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Meet the Millenials -- facilitated by Stephen Abram

Meet the Millenials – Facilitated by Stephen Abram

2/3 girls, 1/3 guys, ranging in age from 12 to 16, all from the local Junior & Senior High Schools.

The classics are back, in a large way, and most of these kids are finding out about this stuff online.
Creating techno on computer & textures/layers stuff in SecondLife

MySpace or IM?
Kids are still talking to kids in person
"Scrapbooking, except on computer"
AIM, in person, on the phone
Jabber, IRC (personal server), AIM
Use AIM for homework

Planning Saturday night
Gotta be in advance, but friends plan late
As it comes along, last-minute
Phone, IM, yelling across the street

"If the internet is down, I go to the library"
Savvy – understands that you need to double-check information
Yahoo, Ask (preview function like Snap), Google
Different search engines bring up different websites
Don't like Wikipedia because it changes ... "the words that were supposed to be there"
Anything you want to find is there – but sometimes they don't provide a quick summary
Too much dialogue and not enough information
Sparknotes – not instead of reading but to get more out of the book
Google as a fact-checker
They're still using books, don't give up on it yet
Books can be faster

The kids mostly told us what we wanted to hear, but I think they were telling most of the truth – which was that they're citing things and not just copying and pasting.
Automated citation sites:
KnightCite --
Son of Citation Machine --

Checking multiple sources
  • They do it. They rely on multiple sources – 'whatever ends up in the most places is obviously the right information.'
  • They eventually go to the library, if they can't determine validity themselves.
  • Not looking at the details, but the main points to compare sites. [Hmm, that could be a bit unnerving.]
  • .edu or .gov means an educational/governmental institution and they're more reliable
  • Names you recognize – NYT, Boston Globe,,, Enchanted Learning, "organizations you heard of"
  • Use an odd number of sites so you don't have a split vote

[I really wanted to see some more urban kids on this kind of panel. I know why they aren't here, but I'm sure we'd be hearing some different answers from city kids.]

Last book you read for fun
Maximum Ride, first & second books
Princess Frog, Secret Language of Girls
Hardy Boys
Hidden Life of Otto Frank
Enchantment: Life of Audrey
Dispatches from the Edge
Virtual Light
Pillars of the Earth
"can't remember" – They just don't get it : how Washington is still compromising your safety, and what you can do about it, David Hunt
Shade's Children
Where do they get it?: Friends & family, library (public & school)

Talk about the library
Southbridge – very organized,
Junior high library – stickers for organization, quiet & easier to think
Senior high library – the books are ancient and there's no selection
They go, but sometimes it's not as much fun as they'd like.
**Kids can tell when an institution puts money into the books; they are paying attention to this stuff**
A few of them were overdue in a serious way, so they can't check out books. No fines for kids, perhaps?
Lots of kids buy their books, the ones who blow through books get them from the libraries

Where do you get your books?
Barnes & Noble

[The Second Lifer kid does steampunk avatars; I'm so excited!]

PS2, Xbox, GameCubes, Wii (Prince of Persia, Twilight Princess, Zelda)
Desktops -- WOW ("my dad plays and he's at level 35"),
"Second Life is more of a metagame"
NetStorm, "Evercrack"
Call of Duty 1 & 2, Medal Storm
Star Wars MMORPG
Sports games & racing games (girls & boys)
Still playing PS1 games
Nintendo DS (virtual pet games), SuperMarioBrothers
GameBoy (car games)
Sims (its the creation that's the fun)
2-week lifespan on games [here's a perfect lending opportunity!]
Solitaire on the computer
SuperSmashBrothers Melee
"I have to be active" -- so she likes games that get her up and moving

Better off, the same or worse off than your parents?
Dealing with being without your parents
Not necessarily better off, but you want to be in a better place
Wants to have her own business in interior design
Depends on what your parents do: dad's a prosthestist & mom works at UMass Medical Center
It won't matter: I just want to do the things that matter to me, "I want to be happy"
Geography: wanting to stay near parents
"Whatever, as long as I'm not homeless"
Make a lot of money, hopefully doing what I want to be doing
"Population is going too fast, so there won't be enough jobs for people. I'm hoping I can just work."

[It took to the end of the one and a half-hour session to get to the poop joke.]

Lots of votes for not being part of any party because they're all flawed
More important to see what ideas help us, makes our country better -- "It doesn't matter who comes up with it, or how much it's going to cost, just how much it's going to help us."
"I can't tell the difference."
"Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show" are the #1 & #2 shows for millenials.

About half YouTube watchers

Is the world going to be a better place?
Darfur - there's no stopping it
Environment - global warming
"One good thing about being a pessimist: you're always right or pleasantly surprised."
People are going to be just fighting to survive
They hear the information from parents, email newsletters, news, school
Fire In the Sky - Heinlein
Normal dinner conversation
Daily lives / scheduling
What did you learn in school?
What's going on in the world and what your opinion is about it.
Current events

How many kids actually have family dinners? Once or twice a week, almost every day, once every few months, holidays,

If we got rid of overdues, would you use it?
"You'd never get your books back"
It might be good to have it like Netflix: no fines, but you can't get the next one until you return the first one
More time to get through a book so you can actually finish it.
If there's a book you want, someone else might still have it and then you can't get it.
What about paying fines with credit cards? Research

Every single one of them has a phone

What can we do for you?
Can you increase the diversity of books?
More scifi
Wider selection of movies
Electronic books - text-based, not audio
Less technology, more human interaction
Historical novels
Cafe ("my mom told me to say this")
Brighter colors
Age-appropriate sections

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