Tech Tries Targeting Teens Technologically

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Marketing discussions and efforts at gaining the attention of the elusive teen market take different forms, in looking at how one Internet titan and one relative newcomer give it a try.

At Yahoo, the Ypulse Mashup 2007 two-day conference aimed its events at “today’s totally wired generation.” Hitting the teen demographic is like nailing a golf ball with the sweet spot of the club: tough to do, but rewarding when it happens.

Yahoo’s effervescent intern and blogger Doreen Bloch wrote about the Mashup 2007 at Yahoo’s official blog. Some sessions, like those led by people like MIT professor Henry Jenkins and blogger danah boyd, discussed teen culture on the Net.

Others focused on what teen peers have accomplished. A quartet of young entrepreneurs discussed their experiences in building online businesses. Teens aren’t the end of Yahoo’s or the marketing world’s interest. Next up in September: Tween Mashup 2007.

Social networking, avatar-driven Doppelganger creates instant messaging environments like The Lounge. To build awareness of what the privately held company can do, they called upon their users to help.

That led to a YouTube video featuring the avatars of members jamming in the environment. It also noted in passing the marketing potential for selling virtual outfits to wear in the world.

Anyone who can tear themselves away from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend may want to read some earlier, prescient mentions of avatars and virtual clothing in William Gibson’s ‘Idoru’ or Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’. Each predates places like The Lounge, not to mention Facebook, MySpace, and in the case of Stephenson, the World Wide Web.

It’s interesting for someone like me to see how science fiction has become fact in a lot of ways, both in terms of the implementation of environments, and the way marketing has followed them closely. How much more closely they meld, and the discussions surrounding whether they should or not, will be the next thing to watch.

Tech Tries Targeting Teens Technologically
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