‘Generation’ is the mindset, not age

Words of wisdom (via):

The internet isn’t a decoration on contemporary society, it’s a challenge to it. A society that has an internet is a different kind of society than a society that doesn’t.

I agree. And people, regardless of chronological age, appear to separate along “generational” lines, with the word “generation” really meaning how much they grok the immenseness of the societal change. It changes everything: politics, economics, media, science, environment, public health, business…. The “old” generation thinks of the Internet as yet another place to put their traditional advertising – a website as a billboard. Plus, by charging something, they may get some revenue. The “young” generation understands that traditional marketing looks awkward in the new medium and is inherently repellent. I agree with this sentiment:

On the one hand, there are those who see Web 2.0 tools as an enhancement of traditional collaboration and outreach capabilities. On the other hand – and to my mind more intriguing – there are those who believe that Web 2.0 is heralding a new business paradigm.
To the former, the failure to jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon is a missed opportunity to tap into new audiences and fundraising possibilities. To the latter, it represents the risk to development organizations of becoming obsolete, bypassed by new players who are more adept to exploiting the innovative potential of “radical collaboration”.

This has been discussed mostly in terms of the demise of the newspaper:

Few believe that newspapers in their current printed form will survive. Newspaper companies are losing advertisers, readers, market value, and, in some cases, their sense of mission at a pace that would have been barely imaginable just four years ago.
Perhaps not, but trends in circulation and advertising–the rise of the Internet, which has made the daily newspaper look slow and unresponsive; the advent of Craigslist, which is wiping out classified advertising–have created a palpable sense of doom.
In the Internet age, however, no one has figured out how to rescue the newspaper in the United States or abroad. Newspapers have created Web sites that benefit from the growth of online advertising, but the sums are not nearly enough to replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads.
Philip Meyer, in his book “The Vanishing Newspaper” (2004), predicts that the final copy of the final newspaper will appear on somebody’s doorstep one day in 2043. It may be unkind to point out that all these parlous trends coincide with the opening, this spring, of the $450-million Newseum, in Washington, D.C., but, more and more, what Bill Keller calls “that lovable old-fashioned bundle of ink and cellulose” is starting to feel like an artifact ready for display under glass.
Taking its place, of course, is the Internet, which is about to pass newspapers as a source of political news for American readers. For young people, and for the most politically engaged, it has already done so. As early as May, 2004, newspapers had become the least preferred source for news among younger people. According to “Abandoning the News,” published by the Carnegie Corporation, thirty-nine per cent of respondents under the age of thirty-five told researchers that they expected to use the Internet in the future for news purposes; just eight per cent said that they would rely on a newspaper. It is a point of ironic injustice, perhaps, that when a reader surfs the Web in search of political news he frequently ends up at a site that is merely aggregating journalistic work that originated in a newspaper, but that fact is not likely to save any newspaper jobs or increase papers’ stock valuation.

But more and more, this is discussed in other areas as well, especially politics:

The Drudge Report’s link to the YouTube iteration of the CBS News piece transformed it into a cultural phenomenon reaching far beyond a third-place network news program’s nightly audience. It had more YouTube views than the inflammatory Wright sermons, more than even the promotional video of Britney Spears making her latest “comeback” on a TV sitcom. It was as this digital avalanche crashed down that Mrs. Clinton, backed into a corner, started offering the alibi of “sleep deprivation” and then tried to reignite the racial fires around Mr. Wright.
The Clinton campaign’s cluelessness about the Web has been apparent from the start, and not just in its lagging fund-raising. Witness the canned Hillary Web “chats” and “Hillcasts,” the soupy Web contest to choose a campaign song (the winner, an Air Canada advertising jingle sung by Celine Dion, was quickly dumped), and the little-watched electronic national town-hall meeting on the eve of Super Tuesday. Web surfers have rejected these stunts as the old-school infomercials they so blatantly are.
Senator Obama, for all his campaign’s Internet prowess, made his own media mistake by not getting ahead of the inevitable emergence of commercially available Wright videos on both cable TV and the Web. But he got lucky. YouTube videos of a candidate in full tilt or full humiliation, we’re learning, can outdraw videos of a candidate’s fire-breathing pastor. Both the CBS News piece on Mrs. Clinton in Bosnia and the full video of Mr. Obama’s speech on race have drawn more views than the most popular clips of a raging Mr. Wright.

And politics again:

“We’re all pioneers now,” Trippi concludes. No one knows the best way to use YouTube yet, for example. (Such as your humble correspondent, who can’t even hold a Flip video straight.) “And it probably won’t be a campaign, it’ll be an individual committing an act of journalism,” he adds, for example. “No one’s perfected it, but the Obama’s campaing is closest. I envy the tools they have…. I think we’re just still seeing the first birthing of this new politics, too.” I agree.

And government:

Blue NC highlights the absurdity of Easley appointing someone who doesn’t know how to use a computer to head the committee on North Carolina’s electronic records retention policy: “Don’t try to e-mail the state about e-mail.”
Way back in 2002, I was told that Howard Coble — then sponsoring a bad net-related bill — didn’t know how to turn on a computer. Coble’s staff said I was just picking on him by pointing that out, but it mattered — someone who had never seen a click-thru user agreement wouldn’t have understood the power the bill gave the recording industry.
As Rep. Rick Boucher said, “I think it is very important that members of Congress who make judgments on this have a working knowledge of computers and the Internet. Many do, but some members are technology-averse, including some, unfortunately, who are in positions of influence.”
Hard to believe it’s still an issue six years later.
Speaking of hard to believe — a candidate using a blog was national news back in 2002.

And of course business:

Is this the end of the organization? Probably not by name and certainly not in the broadest sense of the term. But the traditional, tightly controlled, top down, branded organization is finding itself having to adapt and change. The organizations of the future will not look like the organizations of today.
Whether the organization as we know it survives or not, it is by studying the changing patterns of communication that we will discover the new shape of civil society. Our methods of analysis – and possibly our methods of regulation, funding, and participation – will shift from those that reflect managerial thinking to those that reflect ecosystem thinking.

The definition of ‘work’ is rapidly changing:

What occurred to me is that coworking is generational if you change your definition. Coworking is about this “generation” of people altering the perception of “professional,” “work environment,” “colleague,” etc. It is about hip people writing their own ticket for work. Coworkers are skilled individuals who are prepared to be part of the global community.
And businesses need to be aware of and adapt to this changing workforce. I have been researching this avenue quite a bit and as much as “coworking” is hip and trendy, it is smart and necessary in our changing economy. When software engineers end up doing business with colleagues halfway across the world, what’s to motivate them to come into a traditional office? Isn’t it more interesting for them to be in a coworking space where they can meet people in all walks of life? Businesses will be getting educated if they want to survive and stay competitive. It is just a matter of time before this “generation” of coworkers changes the way businesses do business.

The same goes for science publishing. Paper is dead. Some publishers think mainly about their hardcopy product, the paper journal that is sent out to libraries and subscribers. The website is almost an afterthought: “Hmmm, it would be cool to have something online. All the cool kids are doing it. Perhaps we can even get some revenue by placing our papers online and charging for access”. Other publishers are smarter – they are rethinking the business from scratch, adapting to a completely new world in which everything is online, the new generations find payment for information an abhorrent concept akin to censorship, and the paper is an afterthought – something that the end-user can just print out at home.


CNN: Telecommuters band together
Related: This is why collaborative education is so important.

7 responses to “‘Generation’ is the mindset, not age

  1. I get a newsletter on usability, and today’s tip was:

    Between the ages of 25 and 60, people’s ability to use websites declines by 0.8% per year – mostly because they spend more time per page, but also because of navigation difficulties.

    Cracked us all up over on our middle-aged blog.

  2. That’s funny. How about reading more carefully as you age?

  3. Just the other day I got to the end of a newspaper article and caught myself looking for a comment link to click on. Felt privately embarrassed for a moment, then sorry for all the people who work at the paper, transport it, deliver it…

  4. Funny – that happens to me all the time. And then I get all mad that I am not allowed to comment 😉

  5. Felt privately embarrassed for a moment, then sorry for all the people who work at the paper, transport it, deliver it…

    Recent Simpson’s episode had Nelson Muntz doing the “Ha-Ha! Your media’s dead!” to a print journalist.
    Fundamentally, that’s our loss. Until recently, print media offered some of the best defense against the encroaching sameness of consolidated media.
    Greg Mitchell is still up there, making a fight of it.

  6. So. Lost in this discussion is the very big question: If newspapers are displaced, yet most news is aggregated from newspaper sources…where will the news come from when we no longer have centralized “journalism farms” that (gasp!) *pay* those journalists to write? I, too, rarely read newspapers any more, preferring to get my news from the nets, but having our local newspaper die off would mean I would be getting national/world news (from the net), but no local news. After all, what national/world newssource would want to spend the $$ to maintain a cadre of journalists up in Alaska? MSNBC, CNN, and the lot are not going to have the money to do this for every local market. And citizen journalism is a fine idea, in theory, except that citizens have biases whereas professional journalists at least wave a hand at the idea of being impartial.

  7. “Nobody’s campaign is perfect, but Obama’s is closest…” Is that really true, I would argue not. Clingy gun and church-goers would too.