Inspire the kids for a winning future

Last week I went to Dunedin to speak to 80 14-17 year olds about Social Campaigns.

They were all from the South Island of New Zealand and predominantly from small town rural communities.

I took the opportunity to poll them and ask questions to see what they knew about emerging technologies, social media and there applications.

Of the 80 students:

  • 78 had a Facebook account
  • 20 had opened a Twitter account
  • 2 used Twitter each day
  • Most understood that Twitter was to share what you're up to
  • Most failed to understand the benefit of sharing what you're up to

Having been inspired recently by Derek Handley's speech and reading reports touting it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert I was impressed to have several teenagers ask me after my presentation what they should do now to help them work out what business they should start after university.

My response was to immerse themselves it all the last technology. To subscribe to the top Social Media blogs and begin to understand how all this new technology could be used to improve lives in the future. I reminded them that Facebook and Groupon were started by 26 year olds so at 16/17 to be thinking like that was an exceptional advantage.

However I dug deeper and found that none of them knew about Augmented Reality or even how building a personal network could be an advantage to getting work or building partnerships for their new business ideas.

I am presenting next Thursday to a similar group of North Island teenagers so it will be interesting to see how much of a difference there is in awareness and usage.

But I left Dunedin with the gut feeling that age group could really benefit from an inspirational and educational presentation about what's out there, what's leading edge, what are people doing with the technology at the moment and why they should be interested in this stuff now.

These teenagers need inspiration, they need exposure to technology and they need to be encouraged to explore.

I think there is a huge opportunity there. Want to help me fill it?