We are the Net Generation

I’m not really sure what all the details were about the Twitter and Facebook outage last week. But, from reading some of the headlines that were floating around about people feeling lost without access, I think it really is a sign that we are becoming so accustomed to being constantly connected to the Internet and to social networking sites that some people feel so lost when things are different.

We have become so attached to these websites that it seems like they are the only way to effectively reach out to certain types of audiences (not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it worries me that some people cannot control the amount of time they spend following tweets and updating Fbook). This author is even using Twitter as a way to increase publicity for his novel (probably quite effectively too since there is this CNN article about it. I’d bet that other authors are wishing they had thought of it first…).

I was in a van last winter on the way to the tournament and I noticed how strange it was to be on my computer but offline. I hadn’t been in a situation like that in a long time. It was slightly surreal. I remember the days when it was the opposite, where most of my time on a computer was offline and maybe once a day I would connect to the Internet for a few hours.

Working in this summer camp these past few weeks, I have noticed that a good number of the kids have cell phones that are often hanging from their necks or otherwise close at hand. Is that strange to anyone else? Sure, I understand the safety reasons for giving a small child a mobile phone, but aren’t they a bit young to become reliant on it? This isn’t a big trend by far, but it is becoming more and more frequent.

Like the authors of Wikinomics have pointed out, being connected has become a necessity and not using all of the options that technology has to offer is becoming more of a handicap for businesses. They use the term “Net Generation” to describe people who are the twitter followers, the facebook addicts, but also the people who contribute voluminously to creative and knowledge content sites like Flickr and Wikipedia. The power of the Internet is that it allows massive global collaboration.

The Net Generation has grown up with this type of connectedness and will expect that to be a important for every part of their life, personal and work related. But the tricky part is getting businesses to create or allow the creation of the job environments where this can work out for the Net Gen. Business mentalities will have to change and adjust to what the Net Gen will expect should and can be achieved through this new age of connectedness and capability.


EDIT
Check out the song Now Generation by Black Eyed Peas on their latest album The E.N.D.

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