We conducted another focus group tonight — this time with twentysomethings in a Bay Area suburb. The idea was to gather 22-to-27-year-olds as the next generation of "life events buyers." Lots of interesting stuff came out of the session (to be presented at ILM:05), some of it predictable, some of it not.
One thing that was interesting … Of the "favorite Web sites" identified, the majority of them had to do, in one way or another, with news or local (sites like SFGate and Craigslist). These people liked and read the news, just not in the newspaper — although they read newspapers when they were around. They just didn't buy them or subscribe.
Interestingly, they did say that they read the newspaper for local events and music because "there's no good place to go" online for that information.
There was a striking amount of print Yellow Pages usage (one person used it "twice a week"), but the consensus prognosis was not good for printed directories: "Not much better than newspapers," said one woman (23), who added that she thought newspapers "were kind of screwed."
These people were also eager for more and richer local information. "These [local] businesses are behind the times," said one U.C. Berkeley grad of the lack of results in response to certain local searches. They also didn't see any reason to pay attention to ads (on any medium) unless they were very narrowly tailored to their interests.
What's the ideal local Web site? "A Google for local that would have everything local in it … kind of like Craigslist," said a woman who was working on a home remodel. While Google Local, specifically, never came up, "Local.Yahoo.com" was mentioned a few times.
These people saw themselves as a "transitional generation" from print directories, print newspapers and traditional TV to a totally digital orientation among people younger than them. "We grew up with these things," said one woman (24), "so we still use them."