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Monday, December 8, 2008

Do age and social networking really matter?


So, there were some interesting tweets in the Twitter-verse yesterday and I think it started with Alan Lepofsky (yes, of the one-time Lotus fame) talking about some “Gen Y” people who had come to his booth today and spent a great deal of time talking about how they wanted to change the world, and that their needs for tools were different than anyone else’s.

And Alan’s initial tweet was

…Just listened to 20 min of 4 20somethings talk about their needs, which were identical to the needs of everyone around me.

And, of course, there were other tweets in response, some from fellow IBMers like Luis Suarez. And Luis’ comments are valid and certainly pointed out that not everyone has the time to search for information nor does everyone live with these kinds of tools.

Interesting.

But, it got me thinking. In many presentations, I have seen people tie this whole social networking thing to the Millenials - and we even have slides in many of the Lotus Connections presentations that show age gaps and how different ages learn differently, or react differently to the sharing and collection of knowledge.

As a side note….I can’t tell you how many times I have had customers come up to me after a presentation like that and say they took offense to that particular slide - the one about how different ages learn/connect, etc. They say, it’s not true, and is a generality we shouldn’t be preaching. And, I, for one, have taken that slide OUT of ANY pitch I give on Connections or social software. I think it’s a bit demeaning.

But Anyway…back to my point…

Was it really the age gap that brought about these tools? Was it really the “needs” of the millenials that were SO different from the needs of everyone else that brought this whole revolution? Are millenials really the only ones who were crying out, demanding these tools? Or are we just grasping at straws here? Why do we feel the need to constantly hold onto that age gap thing? I’m really having a hard time with this.

Sure, we had a TON of intellectual capital sitting in people’s heads - but I would argue that many non-Millenials were thirsty for the tools to share this information too. I think the need was out there, no matter WHAT age you were or where you were in your career. I use the Internet. I “play” online. I collaborate in new and inventive ways. And I’m NOT a millenial. And, I know many, many just like me - and they aren’t millenials either.

Maybe it’s that the millenials are pushing harder or refusing to use other tools more - maybe we should have stood up long ago and pushed for these tools ourselves - maybe we were just too complacent with things like team rooms and discussion databases and forums and such. (which have been around the whole time I’ve been out of college)

I don’t know. But I know one thing…I for one, am going to try to stop pushing the age issue so hard. I think we ALL need these tools. We ALL should be using them - because true collaboration is NOT new. The ability to share information is NOT new and this is NOT just a millenial concept.

It just has a better wardrobe. (ok..and maybe a face-lift or two)

Or am I just age sensitive today?

23 comments:

Alan Lepofsky said...

When I rant about how Gen Y is no diff than Gen X, everyone asks me "then why are all the 2.0 tools popping up now?". First of all, they are not new. Newsgroups, IRC, chat rooms, forums, all existed in the 70, 80, and 90s! The reason YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter have such reach and adoption is because of the technology available. Now almost everyone has a computer or mobile device. In the 80 and 90s it was just the geeks, or people while at work. That is what is different about "today", it is not about people's age. I know not everyone agree with me, but I'm stick to it!

Tony said...

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erisya nor said...

nice article :)

Indra Putu Achyar said...

ok i'm com back....
nice article

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Lusia, Age is just a number. Its how you feel, how you lead your life that counts.
Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

Live your life with no excuses, love with no regrets.

You have a nice day, Lee.

GOddess said...

hi was here , thanks for visiting my blog. Nice Post fo yours

Jacky said...

thanks for visiting my blog.. and also for the comments... nice to see u again in my site..

suryaden said...

inspiring article, thanks

posh_post said...

i really do not know what is the delineation of genx and gen y. i am in my 30s. i don't even know where i belong. lol

Prihandoko said...

do age relate with social networking? I don't think so, just show what you are.

thanks for dropping by

ascu75 aka Don said...

I connect with all ages through Jesus and heroin addiction. Jesus is thre for everyone every age all the time.Most people I meet are lonely and un loved speaking to people is just the begining . Thanks for visiting my blog

My said...

Age doesn't matter, so they say. In whatever we do and whoever we interact with. No one goes around and ask "how old are you" and then say, "ok, we doesn't seem to to fit".

Good post, anyway. It's thought-provoking.

VIRTUALWRITER said...

Although I am almost 40, when I am online or play games, I am just an ordinary teen.
Do you know that computer can stop time. It does to me cause I am from the Atari,commodore, amiga, texas Ins. generation till now and I am still playing games but now I am not alone but with my children.

About Town Photos said...

Each generation has this idea that they are somehow different to the generations that preceded them. In reality there is no difference in the people. It is the world, technology, communications, travel, in short, infrastructure, that is the only difference.

Generational Labels do not make a Super Race!

AiWY said...

hai.
smile for you. nice article.

Glennis said...

Nice to have you drop by, thanks.
I agree age doesn't matter that much, it is no barreir to learning anything you really want to learn about. You would see me as elderly, but I don't, and yet I spend most of my day using the internet for fun and research. Age like happiness is just a state of mind.
good article,well written, and thought through.

Screaming Meme said...

Great read...thx! meme

chubskulit said...

U. Lee is right. its just a number, its how you project , act and communicate with people that counts.

btw, i am following your blog..

richard said...

Hello... Love your blog...i have followed it and by the way I also have tag for you...

Kindly check my website..

Keep on smiling...

Insults said...

Great post.

Hi! I'm Grace said...

This is such a very interesting post.
Have a nice weekend. :)

Dana and Daisy said...

I think youth is more willing to try new things, but the more experienced wait to see what catches on.

My own personal experience anyway.

ascu75 aka Don said...

YEP we all learn and we all learn different stuff even from the same book. People need to accept others needs and not get offended if it dont sit with their way. Thats my two penny worth.

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