Morgan Stanley intern disses Twitter, shakes up industry

Jake Turcotte/

What'd you do on your summer vacation when you were 15?

Summer camp? Swim team? Neglect your entire summer reading list till late August? Something tells me you didn't write a report that rocked an entire industry. But that's just what's happened in England this week.

According to the Financial Times, 15-year old Matthew Robson, an intern at Morgan Stanley in London, was asked to write a report on his friends' media habits. It was so good that the firm decided to publish it. The report caused quite a stir, generating five to six times the usual interest.

“We’ve had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day,” Morgan Stanley European media team leader Edward Hill-Wood told the paper.

What did young Mr. Robson have to say that got everyone so excited?

Twitter? Nope.

Most have signed up to the service, but then just leave it as they release [sic.] that they are not going to update it (mostly because texting twitter uses up credit, and they would rather text friends with that credit). In addition, they realise that no one is viewing their profile, so their ‘tweets’ are pointless.

Game consoles

The emergence of the Wii onto the market has created a plethora of girl gamers and younger (6+) gamers. The most common console is the Wii, then the Xbox 360 followed by the PS3. Most teenagers with a games console tend to game not in short bursts, but in long stints (upwards of an hour).

As consoles are now able to connect to the internet, voice chat is possible between users, which has had an impact on phone usage; one can speak for free over the console and so a teenager would be unwilling to pay to use a phone. PC gaming has little or no place in the teenage market.

Blackberry? iPhone? Yawn.

Mobile email is not used as teenagers have no need; they do not need to be connected to their inbox all the time as they don’t receive important emails. Teenagers do not use the internet features on their mobiles as it costs too much, and generally, if they waited an hour they could use their home internet and they are willing to wait as they don’t usually have anything urgent to do.

Phone books?

Teenagers never use real directories (hard copy catalogues such as yellow pages). This is because real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which are services that teenagers do not require. They also do not use services such as 118 118 because it is quite expensive and they can get the information for free on the internet, simply by typing it into Google

Robson's comments on Twitter drew the most attention, because they come from a member of most tech companies' target demographic, and stand in striking contrast to industry leaders' prevailing opinion of the microblogging service.

Oh, and Robson's take on newspapers? "No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper.... The only newspapers that are read are tabloids and freesheets ... mainly because of cost; teenagers are very reluctant to pay for a newspaper."

Read the full text of Robson's report here, courtesy of the Telegraph.

Teenagers may not think it's cool, but we're on Twitter. Follow @csmhorizonsblog.

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