The Mobile Youth: Voices of the Mobile Generation
Graham Brown is a ditigal anthropologist, etnographer and cultural adventurer from London. We asked him about his new book "The Mobile Youth: Voices of the Mobile Generation"
What are the features of "Mobile Youth"? Why is it interesting about this mobile generation emotionally?
This is the first generation that have grown up with mobile phones. There are over 1 billion youth around the world with a mobile phone. What's interesting is that now, every single one has a voice. Every single one has the ability to share information, make news, make content. When they grow up, our ideas of "media", "brands" and even "government" will change.
In a short summary, how do you subtly convince someone to pick up this book?
It's a book written for marketers, technologists and social scientists that want to know the future by studying young people today.
This book has a very interesting title. Amongst the 10 stories within it, which is your most favorited character and why is it so?
Perhaps the story of Ryoko, the Japanese high school girl. She was one of my students when I lived in Japan. It's from her that I got my first insight into how teens were radically overhauling technology and innovating in remarkable ways. The ripples of her generation's innovation in the 90s are still felt in how adults use mobile phones today. The iPhone, for example, owes a large debt to her.
This is a book which detailed the technological-maturity, at the point of writing, were you afraid that it will surpass its time very soon?
Surpass? I had that thought when we started mobileYouth, the business, back in 2001. As you can see, the industry has just kept growing. We will surpass the need for studying youth and mobile phones when all technologists and marketers finally "get" youth, see things from their eyes. Fortunately, that will be never.
Other than tech marketeer and youth marketeers, what other insights do you think your book provides?
There are profound insights for every organization or body that touches youth life. For example, government. My generation grew up expecting to be told everything by the shiny silver box in the room. This generation expect that if they want to find out something, they can simply look on their phones. Consider how youth have redefined politics in the Middle East through the use of the mobile phone. It's not about access to information but about our expectations and when you have 1 billion amateur producers, DJs, artists and journalists all with a voice, you will see a shift in the societal contract.
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