A recent New York Times article frames a phenomenon we first saw in "The Bedroom Project" back in '07, and what many of you with little kids have probably experience first-hand in your kitchens and media rooms.
There are now multiple generations of technology-enabled kids, even within traditional 10-year demographic groups. Yet, somehow agencies still speak about targeting 25-54 adults, and radio stations insist they're going after 18-34 year-olds.
But now, the onrush of new technology means that "mini-generations" (as The Times refers to them) are forming, each of which has a different orientation to tech and gadgets.
And academicians are noticing that as we are swamped with new toys and media, the capacity to multi-task is increasing as each of these "mini-generations" forms. Dr. Larry Rosen (not Edison's Larry Rosin) of California State University has written a book, Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. He notes that while 16-18 year-olds can handle 7 tasks on average in their free time (texting, IMing, watching TV, etc.), their older brothers in their early 20's can only manage 6, while those in their 30's are more apt to only be able to deal with 51/2.
These types of findings are not just food for thought, but reasons why the media outlets need to be researching demographic targets in audience segmentation studies. Back in the day, we would go through decade-long (or longer) periods with the same basic media choices - albums, cassettes, or CDs. Now we don't go a few weeks without tech breakthroughs and Internet startups that rock our worlds.
As mature adults, we often struggle to keep up. But young kids take these new innovations in stride, easily integrating them into their technology fabric.
We will be working hard on a new, updated Tech Poll VI questionnaire over the next few weeks, in order to be sure we're developing new question avenues that capture the moment.
And by the time the results come out, we will already be playing catch-up.