Top 10 Most Embarrassing Moments for Teens, Families and Tech

In the process of talking with our panel members about how they have helped their families with technology, we discovered some great stories. So we couldn’t resist. Here are the Top 10 tales from our kids from around the world as they coach their families through the technology landscape!

“My parents were in the middle of telling me off for not keeping my room tidy, and then my phone ran out of battery leaving them unable to continue to tell me off.”
– Samuel, 18, Australia

“We were trying to set up a DVD player and we couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. We spent an hour working on it and we could see it was plugged in. However, we found out later, the outlet strip it was plugged into wasn’t.”
– Mike, 16, United States

“My mother wanted to talk to my father on the phone, but she was driving so I had to call him. Turns out I actually called my tennis coach by mistake and the first thing she said was ‘Hello darling…’.”
– Ahmed, 16, England

“When I was helping my dad set up his home theater he got so mad because he couldn’t hear the audio on the TV. He was ready to throw the system out the window. I passed by and asked him, ‘Are you sure you’re not on mute?’ He checked and that wasn’t it. Then I saw the brand-new Bose home theater component and said ‘You sure you’re in the right audio channel?’ I was right and he was so embarrassed he didn’t want to admit it. He denied it. I picked up the remote, clicked a button and there was sound! He was so mad that I was right!! I just laughed.”
– Martha, 18, Mexico

“My brother spent a huge amount of time looking for the button to unlock his new iPhone. All he had to do was touch the screen!”
– Alexandra, 18, United States

“Once, my mother tried to use the remote control to call my grandfather!”
– Tobias, 18, Sweden

“I once accidentally called my mom instead of my friend and asked when and where I should meet for a party. Busted.”
– Ted, 20, France

“One time my phone got wet and I put it in the microwave to dry.”
– Kelly, 14, United States

“I left my Gmail account open when I went on vacation. While I was gone, my mother chatted with all of my friends.”
– Cameron, 18, United States

“Once I complained about my parents on my blog. The next day, I found out my parents had left comments on it.”
– Angela, 16, China

Do you have a great “embarrassing moment” based on tech and your family? Let us know!

Hey Everyone! Stop Advertising, Start Communicating

We hear it from our teens all the time – they want to hear from the brands they care about but they don’t just want any old advertisement. They want information that is relevant, useful and meaningful.

Today, on, I came across a new bit of research that offers an interesting perspective. One of the best ways to reduce the perception of one-way advertising and create more of a “conversation” with consumers is to use Web 2.0 tools – like social networks – to establish a relationship.

The research found “consumers rely on social media websites as much as company websites for product information and 70% of consumers have visited a social media website such as message board, social network, instant messenger, blog, video sharing site or chat room in order to get information about a company, brand or product.”

What is essential in using these tools it to make sure the communication is two-way. To create interaction and to actually listen to what you customers are saying. One of the biggest benefits to listening to today’s youth is that you can identify new ways they are using Web 2.0 tools to communicate with each other and then mimic that behavior in a way that enhances your relationship with your customers.

“But I am afraid of what my customers might say!”

I hear this concern lot from my clients who are working to try new things but are very afraid that “opening the lines of communication” may backfire. This study has good news to report on that front:

“The survey also discovered that people who search for information exclusively via social media websites are more likely to spread the word. More than one-third of consumers have passed along information found online, and among those, six out of 10 used social media websites to pass along the information. Nearly three-quarters (74%) said that most of the information they passed along was positive.”

Sure, there are those who will say something bad about you. But wouldn’t you rather embrace that customer, get closer to him/her and deal with the concern head on? Or risk them posting in blogs all over the web and not having the chance to deal with their concern.

We’ll be back with more in 2009. We hope you have a chance to take a little time off, relax with your friends and family and make big plans for the New Year.

Dear TiVo: Help Me Find New Music

An open letter to TiVo:

Dear TiVo:

You know I love you (and I am not alone). Without you, I would rarely – if ever – get to see my favorite shows. There’s nothing better than knowing Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are waiting for me whenever I need them. And now I find out I can even program you from my phone! Ahhhhhh…..

But here’s the thing, there’s more you can do for me.

As you can imagine, I don’t get out much and while I enjoy listening to music, it’s mostly the old stuff I know and love. But when I watch Gossip Girl or 90210 or Privilege (did I mention I have a tween in the house), they play new music that I kind of like. But here’s the thing, I can’t find it very well after the show – even though the CW does a good job of featuring artists.

Wouldn’t it be cool if at any point during a program, I could hit a button on my TiVo remote and find out the name and artist of the music playing – at that moment!? Not only that, but with one more click, it could send that information to my email or iTunes account so I could make the purchase when I get to my computer?

I realize IPTV is just around the corner, but I probably won’t be an early adopter. And I already own two TiVo boxes. AND my daughter is starting to buy music. It seems like you should get some sort of referral fee from iTunes or from the labels if you pass along a lead. I am sure there’s a business model waiting to bust out of this idea.

So get to work on that would you? I am ready to order my new music today!

Love, Jen