Markus von der Luehe from AdKnowledge, emailed me the other day and asked who I recommended he interviewed on their use of social media. He wanted to use the content in a presentation he was making. I really wasn’t going to give names in the industry, what was the point? So I sacrificed one evening of my kid’s time, in return for bribes of Tim Tams, to give him their insights.

I did warn him that a 16-year-old and 14-year-old are pretty vocal about likes and dislikes, and as predicted they made their viewpoints very clear!

After leaving Markus for a couple of hours with the teenagers, I am not sure if he thought I was like Madonna and never let my kids watch TV or if actually the truth really hit him. If they do watch TV, they watch it online, only about an hour a week do they sit in front of a box. They spend the rest of their media consumption online. There is no Madonna mummy status from me. In fact I am wondering why we have TVs in all bedrooms, the rumpus, the kitchen and living room. None of us use them anymore.

The teens are using new media at every available opportunity, always on in the background is the web, laptops sitting next to the mobile phone that is sms’ing and iPod plugged in one ear. It is not just an entertainment channel, Generation Y are researching on the net for student assignments, for content that forms their opinion on everything from religion to their music choice. In my day we had to pile through textbooks! The net is just a natural fabric of their society and they do not see the difference between the world of physical reality and the virtual world.

While considering their conversation with Markus, I couldn’t help but realise where the hell is Microsoft in all the play about social media channels? Facebook, Google, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger and so on that dominate the pages written about social channels, yet Gen Y is using a Microsoft platform continually for their online social-ability; they are all over MSN messenger. In our home, messenger is permanently pinging messages to and from these teenagers’ laptops. They evolved the MSN language, they use it more than all forms of social media for ongoing connectivity, so where the hell is Microsoft’s strategy to expand messenger in to a wider social channel like Twitter is? They have a gold mine, a nugget and seems like they don’t get how important this emerging generation of consumers is for them. Worse for Microsoft, the brand of choice, when Markus asked the teen brigade was “Apple”, meaning on a channel they are using weekly up to 20 plus hours there is no brand association with messenger, MSN and/or the Microsoft brand.

Microsoft has lost the battle for Yahoo! you would think they would look at ways of developing their own Twitter style tool on messenger, much like Facebook are endeavouring to do. For me messenger is potentially the most important untapped channel of influence of this emerging influential consumer. In fact just generally you would think Microsoft would be coming up with some pretty cool technologies and tools for the social media experience.

Also to add I have recorded our families search habits in a diary and Google isn’t so hot anymore! We are collectively using over five key sites to get our information… Microsoft Live lose again on this one, I wonder if the Google world domination is ending too and we need to re-wire our thoughts about the future even more? Crikey!