Ephemeral profiles 29 Jan 2007
"Sara created a MySpace using an email address that she made specifically for that purpose. After vacation, she couldn't remember her MySpace password (or her email password). She created a new MySpace page using a new throwaway email address. When i asked her if she was irritated that she had to do this after investing time in the previous profile, she said, 'nah.. I had too many Friends that I didn't know anyways.'"
This extract from Zephoria depicts teenagers' typical attitude to account / password management. While adults strive to keep on top of their various user profiles, younger generations seem to see them as disposable (many actually enjoy creating a new MySpace / Facebook page again). Forgot your password? Sign up again. Forgot your email address? Create a new one. Forgot your login? Time for a change.
Zephoria feels that this finding has some significant implications for design:
- "Focusing on 'lock-in' will fail with these teens - they don't care if they lose track of something they put hours into building."
- "Teens are not looking for universal anything; that's far too much of a burden if losing track of things is the norm."
- "Paying for an account can help truly engaged teens remember their accounts (i haven't found any teen who permanently lost their MMO login) but it can also be a strong deterrent for those accustomed to starting over."
- "The numbers that people cite concerning accounts created are astoundingly inaccurate and are worthless for talking about usage or unique participants."
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