Interns: Play Social Media Oracle to CEOs

Last Updated Jul 23, 2009 2:55 PM EDT

Generation Y as social media oraclesNewspapers are scrambling to stay afloat. Gigantic companies are struggling to monetize social media like YouTube and Twitter, and the music industry is turning back flips trying to come up with a post-MP3 business model. The success and failure of all these enterprises turns on consumers' â€"- particularly younger ones' â€"- habits and preferences. So when a 15-year-old intern working for Morgan Stanley in London recently wrote a report on how he and his friends use media, CEOs and fund managers sat up and listened. The Guardian reports:
His report, that dismissed Twitter and described online advertising as pointless, proved to be "one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen â€" so we published it", said Edward Hill-Wood, executive director of Morgan Stanley's European media team.
"We've had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day." He said the note had generated five or six times more responses than the team's usual research.
Young people dubious about the value of Twitter? Online advertising annoying and easy to ignore? Let me guess, if you are reading this and are under 30, you're not exactly shocked. For older execs this is interesting intel about Gen Y media habits, but for younger workers it's not at all surprising to learn that, say, downloaded movies are usually poor quality and hardly worth the effort. Nonetheless there is a valuable takeaway here for young workers.

What is it? You might not be the most experienced employee at your firm, but you probably hold valuable insight on young consumers. What's obvious to you isn't necessarily clear to the higher ups. Don't be shy. Share your generational capital. Your company probably needs, it and it's a contribution that can get you noticed.

(Image of two other types of oracles by cavorite, CC 2.0)

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.