Microsoft Goes After Millennials With msnNow, The Benefits Of Social Networks, The Muppets To Present At The Oscars

Despite having grown up with the Internet at their fingertips (college students aren’t very good at using Google to find information they need. Ethnographic research shows they have trouble refining their results and they aren’t making the best use of the site. Moreover, they expect databases and other library tools to work the same way as search engines. But watch out Google, Microsoft is going after young users with its new trend tracking service, msnNow, which sifts through the top stories on search and social media to gather the most talked about topics. A team of editors will then provide 100 word summaries of the stories; we think this platform, aimed at collegians and young adults, will be a big hit among Millennials because it provides users with the news along with accessible overviews) (Derek Baird) (Bloomberg)

Being addicted to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks may not be such a bad thing (since more than half of teens say such sites make them more aware of others’ needs, which is a big increase from 44% who felt this way last year! And even though social networks can lead to problems such as cyberbullying, nearly 70% of 13-17 year olds feel there’s more benefit than harm to being on them. Speaking of which, did you know social media has been around since the 1970s? Yup, check out this infographic for proof and see how social sharing will change in the future) (HuffPo) (Mediabistro) (Mashable)

The Muppets may not be hosting or singing at the Oscars (as many Millennials had hoped, but Kermit and Miss Piggy will be presenting this year after countless pleas from fans. Although they’ll be entertaining — just like Miss Piggy was while interviewing stars at the BAFTA Awards — we wonder if and when the Muppet mania will ever end. The Oscars are sure to be quite a show this year since Cirque du Soleil is also returning…we just hope they don’t set the stage on fire again) (Variety, reg. required) (YouTube) (Reuters)

The band OK Go has always led the way with viral videos (and their latest creation, a Chevy-sponsored commercial for the song “Needing/Getting” is no different! Check out Ad Age’s interview with the band’s lead singer Damian Kulas on Millennials and music, corporate sponsorship, and more. And in other music news, it’s been a big week for Adele after she stole the show at the Grammys, but despite her continued success, you won’t find her music on Spotify. She was willing to have her songs streamed for paid users only, but Spotify decided against it since it also offers free streaming with ads. Clearly there are still kinks in the system) (Fast Company)

In what’s sure to be one of the most dramatic and, well, strange teen reality shows yet, Oxygen has ordered a pilot called “Teen Weddings,” (a program that follows teen couples from the planning stages to the alter to a post-honeymoon catch up. We don’t even know what to say about this one…and we kinda wonder if any of the stars will also end up on MTV’s “Teen Mom”) (Deadline)

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Financially, it’s a hard time for Millennials as they face record levels of student debt and a high unemployment rate (yet as three Gen Yers explain, they still remain optimistic about the future. Finding a job isn’t just a challenge for American youth, Millennials in London are struggling too. In fact, 1 in 5 16-24 year olds in England are not in education, employment, or training, and as the NY Times explains, there’s a lack of adequate apprenticeship programs for under 25 year olds) (BillMoyers)

And finally for a little Friday fun… (check out this cool cat dressed like a hipster and jamming out to dubstep! The video has gone viral in less than a day, which is no surprise since Millennials have a fascination with hipsters, enjoy electronic music, and like LOLing over cats online; it’s pretty much the perfect formula for success!) (BuzzFeed)

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