Apps & Mobile

Dancing With Digital Natives Requires Going Beyond Responding to True Interaction

image from Dancing With Digital Natives is a new collection of essays offering insights into the lives and perspectives of "digital natives" including material of interest to music marketers. Marc Prensky's definition of digital natives as those born in 1984 or after is used for this volume though each author takes a varied perspectives. The book includes numerous useful chapters, however, I'll to focus on a few concepts from Peggy Ann Salz' essay "Inspired Interaction: Youth Marketing on Mobile."

As Salz notes, mobile technologies heighten the tendency of digital natives to "create, comment, and connect around content at the very moment of inspiration." And given the tendency to stay connected via mobile devices throughout one's day, researchers have "observed an emergent social norm around frequent text messages to signal unavailability from a shared digital space, such as a forum or chat room," i.e., being connected is the "default" state of being.

This always-on state of interconnected creation and commentary means that it's not enough to simply monitor what people are saying about you and your music or to focus only on how much buzz is generated. Instead, brands of all kinds need to create spaces where interaction can occur while loosening control of creative assets.

Such a loosening is much more difficult for major labels who still attack the concept of fair use at every turn. Yet many artists on major labels understand that it's important to move beyond just listening to fans to creating opportunities for fans to participate in content creation. Though they may still limit participation in the creation of music, such developments as fan-made music videos are no longer a novelty and facilitating opportunities to participate is becoming a new business niche.

While a custom-made mobile app featuring an interactive musical world on all possible platforms is out of reach for many indie artists, keep in mind that smartphone users do a lot of social networking and so interactive use of Facebook pages and Twitter streams can be a way to connect with mobile users. And you can also use such feeds or the feed from a blog to power a simple mobile web app, as I've done using Mofuse, which can include easy ways to share content or facilitate interaction.  Such efforts can be your own learning lab with lessons for future use.

Though Dancing with Digital Natives is not a how-to guide, it is full of research-based information that can offer you a chance to step back from the daily grind and gain perspective on one's own marketing activities. And, for those who want to dig deeper, it puts music-related insights into the larger context of the lives of digital natives.

Buy: Dancing with Digital Natives (Amazon affiliate link)

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. Flux Research is his business writing hub and All World Dance: World Dance News is his primary web project.

Share on: