Yesterday, we looked at how 3 different generations interact with and process the internet, social technology, and social media.
Here’s our matrix:
|Social Technology and The Generation Gap
|Bits of Information
|Chunks of Information
So, in most cases, the younger generation of office workers is compromised mostly of Glibbers while the older generation is, by and large, comprised of Clingers. That leaves the Roamers–the in-between group who are captivated by technology, use it, but are generally a step behind.
Why is this important?…
For several reasons:
1. Glibbers Aren’t Geniuses: The young guy with the ironic t-shirt and i-Pod isn’t as valuable as you may think. Just because a Glibber can turn on a computer, surf the internet, and go on about the importance of Facebook and Twitter doesn’t make him or her an influential talent. The experience just isn’t there. A Glibber might know how to upload a video to Youtube and know how to relate to other ‘hip’ Glibbers but chances are they don’t know enough about the business they just got into. This can lead to major mistakes.
2. Roamers Are a Great Bridge: Roamers witnessed the birth and growth of the internet and they know how important it is. Any office Roamer will tell you that the internet has made things more efficient and has created fewer paper files, less confusion, etc. Yet, Roamers still have holdover habits from the paper-and-pen era. We all know the Roamer who can’t get rid of their hard copy address book or their leather calendar because they insist it’s quicker. Still, the Roamer has experience and has witnessed the evolution of the internet, putting them in a valuable spot where they can serve as a useful bridge between Glibbers and Clingers.
3. Don’t Discount Clingers: Yes, the internet has changed everything. Most businesses maintain a majority of their files online and, without email, today’s businesses would be lost. So, how can the Clinger, the generation who gets cold sweats when they turn on a computer, be helpful? Clingers lacking in technological prowess, are still politically competent, well connected, and analytical problem solvers. A Clinger will approach a problem by brainstorming ideas and solutions–and won’t look it up on Google. It might take more time but it’s original, thoughtful, insightful. And, yes, of course a Clinger has the most experience under their belt and is invaluable to the firm. A marketing campaign, relaying on viral videos, might be a Glibber’s great new idea, but an experienced Clinger will know what kills and what helps innovative ideas.