Mirror, Mirror: Am I Consumer 1.0 or Consumer 2.0?

Are the media and consumer landscapes truly changing, or are we all just looking for excuses to speak at conferences?

With the overload of research reports, blog punditry, world-is-changing media stories, and columns like this, it’s never easy to put things in their proper perspective. Which is why I constantly remind clients that though the kind of thinking expressed in that opening paragraph informs perspective, we must also trust their consumer frame of reference when thinking about digital marketing, blogs, Web 2.0, and, of course, consumer-generated media (CGM). At the end of the day, we’re all consumers and our firsthand experiences and media habits are the most important secret weapon we can bring to marketing excellence.

Ever-inspired by the legendary Harpers Index, I spent the last few days auditing my consumer behavior. Hardly perfect, the exercise was both revealing and humbling. I daresay my wife Erika even had to correct a few of my assumptions.

Let’s start with the basics, then move on to the juicy stuff. If you see “(audio),” it means you can listen to deeper perspective on my key points or theme.

The Boring Demographics

  • Name: Pete Blackshaw
  • Marital status: married, two kids
  • Residence: Cincinnati
  • Annual frequent flyer miles: 50-75,000
  • Ethnicity: white (50 percent Italian, 50 percent English/Irish)
  • Age: 41
  • Political affiliation: frustrated (but vote Democrat)

Products and Gadgetry

  • Favorite home product: Time Warner DVR
  • Most frequently used portable device: video iPod
  • Most used online software: TypePad
  • Brand with which I’m most in touch: Enfamil (baby formula)

Media Consumption Habits

  • Hours per week watching TV at home: 10-15
  • Incremental consumption of TV with video iPod: 5 (usually while traveling)
  • Favorite TV show: “24”
  • Favorite iPod TV downloads: “Sleeper Cell,” “Dragnet” reruns
  • Total minutes of TV ads watched during “24” this season: 5 (at best)
  • Total minutes of TV ads watched during Super Bowl: 40 minutes (includes repeat plays)
  • Daily email volume: 300-500
  • Number of email campaigns I unsubscribe from every month: 10
  • Number of times my wife and I check home phone messages per month: 2
  • Frequency of answering my home phone when it rings: 1 in 3
  • Likelihood a call over the weekend or after 6 p.m. will be a solicitation: 50 percent
  • Skype cannibalization factor of mobile phone use in past three weeks: 20 percent
  • Pounds of home junk mail per week: 4-5
  • CMO-targeted magazines I throw away each week: 10
  • Conference bulletins and brochures I ignore every week: 15

CGM Creation Activity

  • Estimated number of folks I’ll tell about a product I love: 20 or more
  • Number of folks I’ll tell if I see a newspaper or blog entry I like: over 50
  • Number of personal blogs, including those for basic organizational purposes: 10
  • Number of videos I’ve placed on sites like YouTube: 6
  • Number of videos I’ve placed on my personal baby blog: over 25
  • Number of del.icio.us tags I’ve created in the past five months: Over 800
  • Friends on MySpace: Too embarrassingly few to admit
  • Number of home baby videos on my video iPod: 3
  • Times per week I harass friends by showing them baby videos on my iPod: 15
  • Number of photos I’ve posted to blogs and sites like Flickr and Webshots: over 1,000
  • Most emotional blog: Dos Bebes (dedicated to my twins)
  • Most sinister blog: Email by Machiavelli
  • Most viral blog:hybridbuzz.com
  • Letters or emails I send to company feedback forms annually: 20
  • Percentage that respond: 40 percent
  • Of those that respond, percentage that respond well enough to nurture positive word of mouth: 25 percent
  • Total members of contacts on my two MySpace parenting forums: 10,000

CGM Consumption and Vanity

  • Number of times daily I search blog search engines for scoop: 10
  • Number of times I search myself: 2
  • Number of times I search my enemies or competitors: 5
  • Current Google index results against my name: 346,000
  • Percentage compared to überblogger Steve Rubel: 10 percent
  • Percentage compared to Britney Spears: 0.001 percent
  • Pete Blackshaw “Google Juice” attributable to ClickZ columns: 36 percent
  • Blog I most rely on as cheat sheet: Adrants
  • Most prestigious blogger to acknowledge my lowly existence: Jeff Jarvis
  • Estimated frequency in 2005 I checked RSS (define) feeds: daily
  • Weekly podcasts I subscribe to: 15
  • Podcasts I actually listen to with regularity: 4


Yes, I know. I’m atypical and non-representative. But you never know, I may just be only 20 minutes ahead. The world is moving fast, and I, for one, feel like the 2.0 current is taking me on a serious, transformative ride. Here’s my advice: If you ever feel lost in the blur of marketing theory, just take a look in the mirror and whip out your personal audit checklist. If your kids are in a media consumption age, audit them next. We may just find our own behavioral habits and practices do more to sharpen our marketing insight than anything else.

Know thyself. Think locally. You are the forecast!

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