Dear Johnny/Molly/Henry/Willamena Fredericka II/Bubba Adelbert,
My apologies for the multiple names. You see, you’re still too far away to even be a twinkle in my eye, and in my Disney-youth I princess-dreamed all the names I’d have for my future kids, so I thought I’d start with those (p.s. the II to Willamena is because I already have a Willa-dog. I love her desperately, so don’t take the “second” title as an insult. On second thought, I’ll budget for therapy, just in case).
Anyway, I digress. Dear future muppet-of-mine,
I’m writing you now, well in advance, about a few things that worry me about the current state of our youth online. Seems like an odd topic, right? Yes, well, I figure that about the time you’re old enough to start using digital tools (funny thought: zygote = z-iGote), I may have Wendy’ed myself right out of the nursery (Peter Panreference), and (dare I say it) lost my knowledge of the younger generation (this may seem an impossible concept for most of the people around me, particularly your grandparents, who still don’t quite understand how I found a career that encourages my interests in cartoons and toys).
LOOKIE LOOKIE, WHO’S BLOGGIN’, COOKIE.
Ok, so more developments. In December of 2012, I finally took the much anticipated leap of joining my friends Amy Pritchard and Regine Weiner (amongst others, Mike, Rich, etc) at Metaverse Mod Squad. For years, I had been a client and a friend to MMS… it only seemed natural to join in on the fun ;).
So, I’m now the Director of Digital Strategy & Engagement. I really like titles that are a mouthful. The longer the title, the more giddy I am. The best part of this gig? Instead of wrapping myself around ONE project, I now get to wrap myself around any number of projects! I get to help many people – yay! [sales pitch accomplished in a very covert way, now add the contact digits: izzy at metaverse mod squad dot com].
As for my beloved blog, which is growing to be quite the latch key pre-tween [epic fail, izzy]. I am happy to say that I’ve been part-time blogging for Metaverse Mod Squad’s blog (as seen in the quote above). For a period of time, I stopped blogging here due to commitments elsewhere, followed by lack of content (or doubling up of rants). We all know, I always have a rant shoved up my sleeve, but they’ve been in short bursts, and much more acceptable within the Twitterverse.
Overall, in regards to kid entertainment – I’ve not been impressed. Movies have been “ok,” cartoons have been “ok” (exception: Adventure Time is amazing), live action shows have taken a turn downward, and the toys “over baked” or “over sexed” (what’s new there? le sigh). Digitallly speaking – there’s definitely been a few highlights here and there. Some interesting stuff on the horizon, but it’s a tough time for kid-based digital properties. Even when awesome kid-based interactive experiences pop up, there seems to be low cash flow, or complete ignorance and misunderstanding on the high-exec level of what it means to have a kid/family based property (and how the monetary growth happens).
Sometimes I get weary of “pouring one out” for your fallen homies (RIP, my virtual world friends). My bitter sweet sadness is temporary, I still have the faith! I think we’re going to see an uptick in kid experiences in the next 2 years… I’m just waiting to get excited about something juicy & innovative & fun.
I will say – Youtube has DEFINITELY changed the game for digital entertainment & IP creation. For the last year I’ve become obsessed with watching trends rise out of Youtube… and even when they’re “for teens” or “for adults” -> the early adopters tend to be the 9 – 12 year olds who find and share this content first.
Note: Kids in social apps are booming (and I’m not talking the apps created for kids). The new social world for pre-tweens, tweens, and teens? Comments left in UGC (Vine, Instagram, Youtube comments, even comments on app rating pages in iTunes) – and don’t get me started on the smart phone tween empire… lawdy!
I have a bunch of rock star clients now, and I’m having fun playing in new playgrounds (general audience social media, large scale game companies, smart phone app strategy… you name it, we’re rockin’ it!).
Anyway – check out my blog post above for Metaverse Mod Squad! You may see a bit more insight on where my brain is at these days (in regards to kids online). 🙂
xoxoxoxox I shall be back.