Teens: Pushing the Migration to Mobile

This is the second in a two-part series by Ning’s Marketing intern, Nicholas O’Farrell, on teen mobile use. You can check out his earlier post on the basics of mobile in the teenage world.

To understand teen mobile use is to understand the teen mobile market. As a group, the teen sector is unique – while most mobile markets change as technology advances, the teen market depends on and transforms with the ever-changing interests of its teenage consumers. We typically hear about new things to check out from each other, and we’re less likely to sign up for a service or purchase something without having heard about it from a trusted friend. The endorsement of a mobile product by a peer is infinitely more valuable than advertisements on the Internet or TV. This is responsible for the perception that trends in the teen mobile market are so quick to emerge and expire – the transient nature of what is in high school vogue results in a market that is constantly transforming to keep up with its teen consumers.

Switching gears, as we hear talk of a shift to a “Post-PC world” and the mass migration from traditional computers to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and the cloud, I’ve begun to consider the fact that teens may in part be driving this migration. While still pricey, tablets and smartphones, like the iPad and Android devices, do offer less expensive alternatives to computers and laptops for teens, a group that, as a whole, is not yet financially independent. These devices are more portable and convenient, and oftentimes easier to use than traditional PCs – think back to the teenagers and accessibility concept I highlight in the first part of this post.

As I see it, today’s most advanced mobile devices are so developed that they can serve as practical and realistic substitutes for the conventional computer. I use my iPhone 4 more than any other device – for communication, entertainment, school – anything and everything – and my use is more the norm than the exception. In truth, mobile is the future of consumer technology, and the fact that teenagers are so attracted to mobile’s accessibility, popularity, and connectivity may very well be a driving force behind the migration away from the traditional computer.

Post by Nicholas O’Farrell. Nicholas is a Marketing intern at Ning. Over the summer, he’s worked on a variety of projects with us, spanning from online community building for political organizations to working with Ning’s legal team and blogging for the company. A triplet and citizen of three countries, Nicholas enjoys reading, writing, traveling, skiing, and exploring new cultures and languages.

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About the Author:

Guest Blogger – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.