May 10, 2007

How children use the Internet

I found Richard Sarson’s piece, The Kids Are Alright Online, over at the Guardian interesting today. He interviews children about their internet usage and the role technology plays in their lives. It has a lot to do with the issues we discuss in the Omnium Project, so I’ve blogged about it there instead of double-posting here if you want to take a look.

One thing caught my eye, though, that I’ll repeat here:

Broadly, Josh, Anna and James all use similar sites and programs in similar ways: their favourite sites are MySpace, Bebo, MSN, YouTube, the iTunes Store and they play World of Warcraft. Why one rather than another? Because “their friends are on there already”; loyalty can shift en masse. They do like sites to be easy to use. Josh prefers Bebo because he finds MySpace “fiddly”.

Not only do I, too, find MySpace an absolute interface design hell, but the notion that loyalty can shift en masse is really crucial to anyone working in this area. It shows how quickly your humming community can become a ghost town. It’s worth reading Mike’s links on the Network Effect for why it’s so crucial to look after everyone in your community or customer base.