The more things change ...
Wednesday, 20th June 2012
Some tensions may persist in perpetuity. Consider that between sagacious seasoned veterans and, say, kids today. There's no end of research that demonstrates, for example, how different the work ethic (or at least generational perception of it) is between older and younger workers. It might be easy to write off youth as having short attention spans, but the message must mind the medium as we address evolving technological and information needs.
Some tensions may persist in perpetuity. Consider that between sagacious seasoned veterans and, say, kids today. There's no end of research that demonstrates, for example, how different the work ethic (or at least generational perception of it) is between older and younger workers. For example, a Workplace Options survey revealed that almost 70% of managers believe that Millennial workers are less motivated than their older counterparts. At the same time, almost 80% of respondents believe that Millennials are more tech savvy as well, which 70% believe is an advantage for them in the workplace.
I recently read an article entitled Mind the Technology Gap 2.0 that highlighted many of the differences in technological experience and facility between older and younger generations. The writer reminisces about his first computer, a Tandy and its blinking curser as prelude to discussing the Xbox Kinect attachment, which allows you to forgo the use of game controllers, remotes, joysticks and the like. With Kinect, you control a game with your gestures, which are interpreted through a digital camera.
Having enjoyed a good game of Pong in my day, I certainly can relate to his wonder at devices like the Kinect and agree that these things at which he and I marvel go almost unremarked for a generation raised on touch screens and gestural or voice activated navigation. I do, however, think the author fails to recognise – as he holds forth for almost 3,000 words – that there is more to this gap than technology. Attention spans are taxed to the limit with so much entertainment and information at our disposal. The message must mind the medium as we address evolving technological and information needs.
Our own Robin Neidorf is busy building bridges for another persistent gap – the one between content buyers and sellers. At the SLA Annual Conference, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois 15-18 July, she'll lead a buyer/supplier roundtable where she will bring both sides together to discuss ideas about where information work, needs, and trends are heading. If you will be at the Conference, we invite you to register to participate in this constructive, collaborative forum.
Robin will also be leading a session that addresses another area in which content buyers and sellers need to work together – measuring ROI. Whether you'll be in attendance or not, we encourage you participate in a brief survey on how to measure ROI on content purchase and usage (participants will receive the results after the event).
As the co-editor of, and a contributor to, the book Dancing With Digital Natives: Staying in Step with the Generation that's Transforming the Way Business is Done, I keep a close eye on the generation gap. I can see how many of the perpetual challenges we face as employers and as information providers can be either exacerbated or mediated by this generation, depending on our perspective and informed actions.
As a long-time writer, editor and speculator about the business of information, I have enjoyed being part of the information value chain, including my time here at FreePint, which is nearing a close. In July, I will join Min – a 65 year old publication covering the consumer magazine publishing industry – where I will continue to explore the evolution of publishing and work to ease the tension we all feel when we face change.
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