Sunday, September 20, 2009

Technological Generation Gap?

We may be witnessing a serious gap in technology. One that spans thegenerations. But I'm not talking about those wacky old people who don't know a bit from a byte. I'm talking about the youth. That's right, people are starting to wonder if these young kids are using technology like they're supposed to.

A recent report gives us some shocking information. Sixteen percent of people on Twitter are under the age of twenty. While twenty percent are older than 55.

What!

That's right, there are more people tweeting about their dentures than there are tweeting about acne medication. Today, kids use technology to goof off. In my day, we used technology to hack into government computers and start fake nuclear wars. Oh, and goof off.

I'm fine with this. I'm part of the 60+ percent of twitter users between the age of 25 and 55. I'm starting to think that my generation, the one labeled only with an X, is the greatest generation when it comes to technology.

But you see, this is a real problem. I write books for kids, and the internet gives me a never-before-seen opportunity to reach an very wide audience. I can write a blog post and it can be seen by millions of people. Ok, it's only seen by a few hundred, but that is not the point.

But all these new-fangled technological ways to reach my audience aren't coming to fruition because my audience is doing things like...reading actual books. Or playing outside. Or talking with other people. What are they thinking?

Think about it. I can post my book as an e-book, and it can be downloaded onto a kindle or iPhone. But I doubt many 10-year-olds have a kindle or iPhone. I can relase it as an audio book, but again, how many of them have mp3 players? Or for that matter, how many of them even have a commute on which to listen to it? I can let them listen or read it right in the browser; but as good as my book is, it's not going to be more interesting that something like...Keyboard Cat. Seriously, now; how am I supposed to compete with a cat in a blue leisure suit? I'm not, that's how.

So, I need a different medium. I need to find a way to get my stories in the hands of my target audience. A medium they are already familiar with. I could try to go the book route, but then I have agents, editors, publishers, and large bookstores standing between me and my audience.

Ah well, back to the drawing board.

4 comments:

Trent said...

The problem with your theory is the metric you are using .... when you look at the metrics for sites such as facebook the younger generation uses it much more ... so you can keep publishing on the internet ... just don't look for chirping followers.

Matthew Buckley said...

Right, but my point is that many of the technologies I'd like to use to get my book to that audience are not used by that audience; mp3 players, and the Kindle in particular. If I was writing for an older audience I could use those channels, but because I'm going after the 8-10 year olds, I'm limited.

Chuck said...

It seems 2-part. On one hand you need a medium that children have access to, and that is largely books, but you seem to not care for the games played in publishing.

Maybe books are still the best medium, but you need a way to cut out the dribble in between your book and your audience. Have you thought about a "Print on Demand" service? Write your books, retain your copyright and publishing rights, and yet make them available for parents and schools to purchase for kids. Sites like lulu.com have been out there doing this for quit a while now. You'll have to do your own marketing, but put some money up front and buy 100 copies from the printer and donate them to elementary school libraries and classrooms. Of course you put a link on the cover page and back page, with an address to chickenarmpits, or the printer's site, where readers can order their own copy.

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