Saturday, April 21, 2007

Persona No. 1, class assignment

Jessica Tatum, zip code 55105, Macalester College.
Age/education/health: 19, sophomore in college, public urban high school, great health
Gender/family lifecycle stage: young female, single, no children. Oldest child of three.
Location and housing type: Dorm with focus on German language, Macalester College. Considering going off-campus sharing an apartment next year with some international students who are friends.
Occupation: Student, barista, volunteer at homeless shelter, school blogger
Social class: Middle class family. Dad's banker, mom's at home, does some volunteer work
Personality: Outgoing, driven, a little afraid of the direction the world is going in. Closely guards any digital photos of herself, because she's gorgeous, and an old boyfriend had photos that spread across the Internet like wildfire. Even fought the university about posting her photo on the blog that she wrote for work-study for the school's website; made her case and won. Refuses to be a poster child for mixed-race students, sees herself as much more than that.
Attitudes: Interested in shopping, clothes, science, human rights, Africa, Germany. Considers the Internet a tool, not a destination.
Ethnicity/religion: Multi-racial/some moderate Baptist background. Considers herself outside of both white and African-American cultures, but able to "cross over." Dad's African-American, former military, met her mom while stationed in Germany. Mom's German but has been in the U.S. for 22 years now.
Lifestyle motivations:
Status-oriented, achiever, striver, survivor.
Media interests: InStyle, Seventeen (when Atoosa was there), Itunes (everything!), her hometown paper sometimes if someone tells her something's there she should read, fiction when she has time.
Type of computer user: skilled, on Microsoft Word, not Excel. Basic blogging tools, strong search skills on Google, strong familiarity with online shopping tools, no hesitation about purchasing items over the Internet. Often uses Mapquest. Youtube, IMovie, Garageband, Moodle (course software).
Type of computer equipment: Mac, 15-inch Powerbook, of course.
Type of Internet usage: High-speed Ethernet cable in the dorm, since it's fast, and wireless on campus when she can find a signal. She's been known to walk around with the Powerbook open, looking for a signal, like the guy in the "Can you hear me now?" phone commercial.
User Status: Regular
Usage rate: Heavy
Loyalty Status: Absolute, but always seeking the next greatest gadget or website.
Usage goals: Social networking, classwork, keeping in touch with home, music, watching TV shows she missed because of class or social activities
Emotional goals: Connecting with friends, belonging, achieving in school
Task context: Uses computer as an individual user, sometimes shares screen with roommate during Facebook time, spends half an hour in the morning, another three to four hours at night (it's always on, playing Itunes and alerting her to IM messages or Facebook updates)
Accessibility: No issues

Goals: Finding out what's going on in town, socially and for news affecting the homeless, since she volunteers in a homeless shelter. International news, since she's planning to study abroad soon and has many international students as friends. Staying in touch with her parents and faraway friends. Class work, through email and Moodle. Scholarship and grant availability research.

Jessica got on Facebook in high school, and loved the social networking. She also loved shopping on the Internet, not always buying but enjoying the beautiful websites of large chains and boutique shops. She also found that shopping online could sometimes save her time, since her schedule was so jam-packed, and still is.
An ex-boyfriend grabbed a provocative photo from her Facebook site once, did some Photoshopping, and then posted it for all their friends to see. Since then, she's been extremely guarded about her images and her identity online. There are just too many stalkers out there, and too much unwanted attention.
She occasionally posts to a blog at Macalester's website, part of a work-study commitment. The idea is to give potential students a real person to connect to, so she just talks about the routine parts of going to class and hanging out on campus. But Jessica, who is gorgeous, refused to let the school post her picture at the blog; she uses an icon that she uses for online postings instead. She doesn't want to emphasize her mixed ethnicity over her actions and accomplishments, and she doesn't want stalkers.
At the same time, Facebook's the best way for her to stay connected, but she yearns for something like it that is quick and easy to use and puts her in touch with local events, people and news. Her interests lie beyond Macalester, and its liberal arts focus is helping her think more broadly about the world and community. She started school focusing on the sciences, but is considering other avenues that will help her change the world.
Her ethnic background has given her some insights into society, as she tried to navigate the boundaries in Charlotte, where she grew up. She was in an urban school where the African American kids frequently hung out together, as did the Asian kids and the white kids. She dated across ethnicities, and many of her closest friends were white girls. Some of the African Americans said she was acting white, but her parents had taught her to think beyond race, and she usually had the self-confidence to define herself beyond specific groups.
She belongs to the Pluralism & Unity group at school, and the organization has opened her eyes to concerns and perceptions of race in other countries. She longs to travel overseas, but is on partial scholarship to the school and will need the Internet for much research into how to fund her dreams.
Why she's important to Jessica has many years left of using media. Some people like her will set down roots in the city where they went to school, and she's part of a generation that uses word of mouth frequently in determining what media to consume. Many high-end advertisers love her; while her student income might not be much right now, she's entering a very acquisitive time of her life. Her interest in international affairs will be a challenge for the news side of Twincities, at a time when newsroom budgets are moving away from that area. Smart linking and partnering with outside international sources would be a wise move for Twincities for customers like her. And usable, readable, interactive listings of nightlife and other things to do will be essential for capturing readers like Jessica.


A. T. Kelso said...

Interesting photo! ;)

A. T. Kelso said...

By the way, you did a fantastic job developing your personas. They seem very authentic.

Andria said...

Thanks! Combined attitudes, media consumption and software knowledge of a young person I know well with demographics of an old friend of hers. Used demographics to reflect the hard-to-label diversity of many young people these days.
Couldn't overcome the unease I felt at borrowing a young woman's picture from somewhere on the Internet, so made up a story to explain the photo.