January 6, 2009

How Social Media Will Solve the Generation Gap

Posted in Millenial Mumblings at 8:38 pm by R

It could easily be argued that one of the major themes of 2008 was the emergence of Gen Y in the corporate world and the ruckus we caused in all sorts of ways.

Terms like “spoiled,” “job-hoppers,” “craving affirmation” and “gold-starred” aside, one positive thing Gen Y has been acknowledged for is their natural aptitude for technology…more specifically in relation to social media.

While the divide between Gen Y and, well, everyone else seemed wide in 2008, I strongly believe that 2009 will be the year we bridge the gap, in a truly unlikely manner.

This bridging of the gap I speak of, will come about as a necessity. As traditional media formats give way to newer social media alternatives, the people in charge will need experts who can teach them how to use, utilize and effectively implement social media strategies into various facets of communication and basic business function.

Who will those experts be???

Gen Y, of course.

I predict that our aptitude for adapting to social media will help Gen Y-ers across the board harness leadership and earn respect in a way that no one really expected. After all, some of these social media — MySpace, Facebook — are practically synonymous with Gen Y and perhaps some of the frustrations of 2008…

For Gen Y, social media is really second nature. For other generations, the prospect is intimidating.

Granted, social media is a bit nebulous. It’s ever-growing, ever-expanding and far-reaching. The thought of being that exposed and “out there” is a little daunting.

Savvy Gen Y’s (I’m talking to you communicators of the world) will help higher-ups adapt and implement social media strategically with a mind for taking the lead and keeping others informed about the goings-on in social media.

Once we’ve helped our managers, bosses and the like capture the principles of applications like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. half the gap will have been closed…all because of social media.

Yes, other differences between generations will remain. But if we can start to tear down the social media wall that’s between us…that bridge will be well on it’s way to built.




  1. Gen Y does have the upper hand because we’re great at technology, but just as Gen Y is lambasted with stereotypes, so are older generations. My entire family is on Facebook, including my 79 year-old aunt. I mean, active on Facebook! It’s companies that need to get on the bandwagon, not the generations themselves.

  2. Brett Hummel said,

    I agree that Millennials can help many older managers adjust to the new corporate reality, but my question is do you think they’re ready to listen?? I just saw this piece in the Economist the other day (http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12863573), and they seemed to take the opposite approach. I think that unfortunately many companies will mistake this recession as an opportunity to reassert the command and control mentality that was so prevalent over the past 20 years, which is the opposite way to approach this new generation of workers. Interested to hear your thoughts…

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