Capturing young people’s attention in the digital age

Submitted by jhai on Tue, 03/03/2009 – 6:03pm

Session Convenor: Jackie Hai

Discussion Participants: Carol Zuegner, Warner Sabio, Lori Rosolowsky, Jim Bowey, Joe Shea, Jose Baez Guerrero, Peter Block

Opening premise: We all have ADD.

Technology has changed the way we think and work. We multitask, skim and scan, jumping from site to site in search of something to engage with. Often we don’t even know what we’re looking for.

The first imperative is to produce quality content with true depth. The second imperative is good design. Present clarity amidst a sea of noise; use simplicity to draw us in, then provide a portal to deep information to compel us to stay. Young people are turned off by the staid, “blow-dryed” journalism of old media. They seek real people who will speak directly to them. They expect interaction.

We need to break down rigid models and adapt to the medium of the web with new forms of storytelling. The forms that succeed will present:

  • Authentic voices (the human touch)
  • News as social capital (leading to viral distribution)
  • Choices and freedom to explore (letting users design their own experience)

An example that contains many of these elements: Market Meltdown 101 on

About Peggy Holman

Peggy Holman supports organizations and communities to uncover creative responses to complex challenges using innovative engagement processes. The Change Handbook, co-authored with Tom Devane and Steven Cady, documents many such processes. The book is the considered the definitive resource for leaders and consultants working to increase resilience, agility, and collaboration in organizations and other social systems. Peggy co-founded Journalism that Matters in 2001 with three journalists to support the pioneers who are shaping the emerging news and information ecology. Peggy’s latest book, Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, supports people facing disruptions to invite others to join them in realizing new possibilities.
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