7 traits of Cool Kids Online

Just like in school the cool kids start trends, Online is no different, the cool kids start global memes such as Lolcatz, to getting bizarre words on Twitter Trends #fisting or to being the most viewed on Youtube. There are some common traits that cool kids online share in common.

1. Cool kids have alot of friends
Friends are different to followers here is a great article describing the difference (HT Gav)

2. Cool kids will pick up technology really fast.
They will usually be an early adopter and understand the unspoken rules of the technology.

3. Cool kids hang out with cool kids
Cool kids will hang out in the same areas, they will help to bump friends trends. This helps to push their own memes when they need. 4chan is living proof of this.

4. Cool kids can remix
Can remix and have friends who can remix; be it words (tweets) or pictures (lolcatz) which help to carry a meme.

5. Cool kids rock at asynchronous conversation
Cool kids are really good at writing online, they are confident and can paint scenarios/stories with words/images better than your average.

6. Cool kids meet offline
Cool kids look to every opportunity to meet up with friends offline as they understand the power of connecting offline.

7. Cool kids live an online lifestyle
To be able to do all of the above you must be consistently connected, there is no 9-5 with this technology, it is constant and a part of their lives.

Why should Marketers care about the cool kids?
If I was also looking for a Community Manager for my brand; I would definitely be looking for someone who display some if not all of these traits.

If I was in the selection panel for Best Job in the World these would also be on my shortlist of traits needed.

Can you think of any other trends that cool kids online show?


Anonymous said...

Cool Kids want to personalise everything

Anonymous said...

Cool kids use social media

Anonymous said...

So do daggy old men.

ChloeRobot said...

Cool Kids know the difference between what they should broadcast and what they should keep private.

Jye Smith said...

Cool kids wants to IMMERSE themselves in whatever their PASSION may be.

Anonymous said...

Cool kids make time to contribute no matter how busy they are

i'm super jealous of that one.

Unknown said...

Cool kids love lifestreaming...putting their lives on show constantly via facebook updates, pics , tweets etc. Their is a competitive pressure amongst them to be in the know...cool kids online are always one step ahead..

Zac Martin said...

Cool kids aren't afraid to voice their opinion.

Anonymous said...

Was just reading an article by Paul Graham about the personality of cities and how different cities develop and maintain their personality.

This quote made me think of point 6 when he says offline socialising will never be replaced because "the physical world is very high bandwidth".


Daniel Oyston said...

I can’t think of any other trends cool kids exhibit online but there is a trend that cool kids in general show … let me tell you a story :)

My 10 year re-union. Talking to some of the blokes that were the cool kids went something like this.
“So where do you work now?”
“Public Service” (in a really un-excited voice)
“Cool, doing what?”
“Just admin and stuff”
“Oh ok, cool, are you married? Kids?”
“Yeah married with 3 kids”
“That’s cool, so what else do you get up to these days? Any sport or hobbies?”

The point – they spent all their time trying to be cool and popular rather than participating and enjoying life and making friends. They missed the point. Sure they had influence but once they left school it all fell apart.

It will be interesting to look back at the cool online kids in 10 years …

Anonymous said...

Nice post! I'd add one more: cool kids will ditch somewhere that's getting tired / losing the vibe without a backward glance to find the next good hangout, and their crew will follow in droves.
(Meanwhile heavy-handed marketers will be left head-scratching and consulting the stats as to why the cool kids aren't here any more....)
PS. Daniel, your comment: ouch!

Matt M said...

Not sure about "cool kids" but community managers are a little bit more mature & insightful than their peers. Which probably means that most community managers should be women.

There's different kinds of cool. Some people are cool because they are beautiful or athletic or rich. Those people would suck at leading a tribe/community.

The kinda Cool I'm after want to make stuff happen. These teens are already running an online community somewhere already. You've just got to find them. Which shouldn't hard because as Zac says: "Cool kids aren't afraid to voice their opinion."

Kate Richardson said...

Hmmmm, sounds like this could be a good research subject.

Hang on, Adam got there before me. So what does make people cool?


Anonymous said...

According to my teen daughter, (yeah, she's a cool kid) I'm too old to be allowed to even use the word 'cool'. It is uncool for me to be cool, and my only hope of being cool is by being comfortable in uncoolness. This is a catch-22 situation that only the cool kids could dream up as a way of eradicating their elders in a ball of confusion.

Adam Ferrier said...

Cool kids would never write or contribute to a conversation about being cool. The research we've done identifies 5 factors that make people cool (go to the link Kate says).

Understated Achievement is an important one of these factors - and being a blogger almost ensures you will fail to be cool on this factor. Having a blog could be perceived as overstated under-achievement - if you know what I mean.

No offence intended.....really!

Julian Cole said...

Ferrier a few points;

‘Cool kids would never write or contribute to a conversation about being cool’

Um pretty sure that this is what HipsterRunoff.com is founded on, most digi aware Gen Yers would agree that Carles is the epitome of cool.

A few things;

‘being a blogger almost ensures you will fail to be cool’

Blogs, that is pretty broad, you sure you want to just state that all blogs.

Cause for one there is many types of blogs; personal diaries, how to blogs, news blogs, archive blogs. You going to lump all of them into one and say that they are all not cool. Kind of like saying that no blue eyed kids cannot be cool.

Didn’t you just tell me in the Sunday paper that Barry Obama was cool, but he has a blog/vlog and microblogs via Twitter. Did he start being uncool when he started blogging?

Ned, that is an awesome quote, I am going to use that one!

Anonymous said...

Good little cool battle twix Ferrier and Cole.

I think the idea of what's 'cool' means different things to different generations.

I'm 32 and can't help thinking (still) that there's a rather heavy geek element in the blogosphere (present company accepted), and if, say, for example, you look at who's doing all the twittering on their phones / PDAs at an event or whatever - well, they certainly don't look way cool to me. Man.

Also, instinct tells me to agree with Adam in one respect: that cool peeps wouldn't talk about what's cool or not on a blog.

But if I were a decade younger, I might see it all differently. Maybe the lunatics have overtaken the asylum and flipped cool on its head.

Anyway. Cool is dead. Uncool has been the new cool for a while.

P.S - There's no way anyone who is truly cool would ever participate in a focus group in my (old fashion) view.

Julian Cole said...

I agree that cool means different things to different people.

I think, we get stuck in our own little Marketing Bloggers bubble and think that this is what everyone else is using the blogging platform for. It is not only Marketers/Agency folk who are using this technology.

I guess now I have to define who I think the cool kids are?

The cool kids to me are the ones who are guiding the general populations taste in music, fashion and design. I'm not talking about the kids who listen to Triple J, wear skinny leg jeans, are into electro (pretty much described myself) BUT more the bleeding edge who brought these trends through 2 years back

All of these have pretty lively Blogging/MicroBlogging communities.

Have a good look at the Top 25 Music Bloggers in Australia.


Also, when I wrote this post, I was actually trying to state the traits of what 'online cool kids look like' rather than what 'cool kids offline do online'. ]

However, I also think that 'cool kids offline' use online as a way to source new trends and talk about what they find interesting.

E.g 3 different ways that blogspot is being used;



Matt M said...

Pulling back to the point of Julian's post, I can't decide whether Adam's research is much help or not.

Based on personal experience, the people I know who keep online communities going aren't "cool" but "warm". They are hosts/hostesses. They have an infectious enthusiasm. They like to big up other people rather than hog the limelight. And oddly enough, they fulfil Adam's 5 criteria - except that there tends to be a slight preponderance of females (rather than males) & as stated, the adjective "cool" does not feel right for them*.

I think there are different roles to be played in communities. People that keep them going & engage others ("warm") vs people that act as magnets that others want to hang around ("cool"). You probably need both.

Obviously this is based on an exhaustive research stu-, oh hang, it's not. I just made it up.

*In fact, aren't there a bunch of archetypal characters (and I mean that in a non-Jung way) that Adam's 5 characteristics could also be applied to? And what about "false positives" - aren't there people who fulfil all the criteria but fail to register as "cool"? Obviously this is judging on an SMH article rather than the original.

Adam Ferrier said...

Jules I went to the site you recommended. People were not talking about what makes people cool or not, it was just a popular culture site – looking at the latest trends and stuff.

On the blogging thing - the trait of ‘Understated Achievement’ means that cool people first a) achieve, and then b) handle that achievement in a modest understated way. Many of the people who blog (in many spheres) are people who want to be in the limelight before they’ve actually achieved (as I said overstated underachievement). Barak is a very good reason why I said ‘almost’ – and not everyone. However, I am sure there are some cool people who blog out there.

Matt the ‘false positives’ comments is an interesting one. The five factors account for the most variance, however also being 18+, masculine, and in a career that is unconventional and you are passionate about also contributes to cool.

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to the boring old farts. The fact that they are arguing with you means they don't get it and should be paying cool kids to do it for them. Alternatively they should stick to marketing boring old fart brands in offline media.

Anonymous said...

omg, this thread is so uncool.

Matt M said...

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***Spam Alert***

I feel like I've taken up fly-posting.

Anonymous said...

I just cant stop reading this.  Its so cool, so full of information that I just didnt know.  Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it.  Youre a great blogger.  Please keep it up.  I cant wait to read whats next.
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