May 5, 2015

Using YouTube: Is There A Generational Gap?

Studies of online video users have identified age-related, or rather generational differences, in how adolescents vs. adults are using YouTube and other video apps. 
In terms of content, adults were most likely to post videos of friends and family doing everyday things, videos of themselves or others doing funny things, videos of an event they attended, and videos of pets or animals. In a sense, they treat video as an archive to collect and keep  memories of everyday life with their family, friends, and pets, humorous moments, and special events. 
In contrast, adolescents most often posted videos that were intentionally staged, scripted, or choreographed videos, ie., "video selfies". Basically, children and teenagers are more likely to treat video as a stage to tell their stories and show their talents. Knowing this, we can design systems that support young users not in capturing and archiving, but in planning and performing and editing compelling narratives. A better approach would be to design tools to help them reflect on their online persona and better understand how their videos are viewed and shared by others.