The Mashup Syndrome

You see this picture?

I went over to one of my client’s houses (he is a precocious, intelligent and witty 15 year-old) and saw him writing with this.

“What IS that? Is that a highlighter? Is that a pen?”

“It’s a pen in a highlighter case.  I took apart my highlighter and put in the pen cartridge”

“But, why?”

“Why Not?”

“No but really, why, it has the same function as the original pen, actually less because now it clicks funny when you write.”

“I guess because I liked the outside shell of the highlighter better, and the clicking is like, cool, because I made it.”

This is a typical conversation I have with many of my gen Y friends and clients.  I call it the mashup syndrome:

Mashup Syndrome n. A disease often specific to millennials where they have the constant urge to take-apart, change and combine separate ideas into one.

Case 1:
Pen + Highlighter = bright pink pen

Case 2:
Pop song + Youtube = Lipdub videos


A lipdub video is when someone lipsyncs to a song on YouTube.

Case 3:
Video + Video software = Video Mashup


There are tons of videos on YouTube of movies, pictures and music videos that have been cut up, rehashed and stuck back together to make a new video mashup.

Have you noticed your teens changing something around to better suit their needs? I know I love cutting off the collar of my t-shirts and using them as headbands.

I think this trend actually says two important things about this generation:

-We think outside the box.

-We expect things to customized for us.

There are pros and cons to these mindsets, but overall I think it speaks to why this generation of teens can be so creative and more teens today are entrepreneurs than ever before.  I say encourage your kids to do this and explore their mashup ideas…who knows they might come up with the next clap-on!

This post is dedicated to Tristan Coopersmith who first introduced me to the concept of the mashup generation and that our creativity lets us live outside the box.

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  1. The Week in Mobile: Election Results, Mashup Syndrome, Musical iPhone Apps and More - November 7, 2008

    […] The Mashup Syndrome [On Teens Today] Previous generations had the mumps and the measles, do today’s youth have the mashups? Some are categorizing their “constant urge to take-apart, change and combine separate ideas into one” as a syndrome.” Forms range from IKEA hacks and DIY tees to Lipdubs and Video remixes. Vanessa Van Patten correlates it with thinking outside the box and expecting customization. […]

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