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Rise of the Social Generation

by | Jan 29, 2010 | Industry News & Trends

Watched a great little video — cute father and son thing — Two Dudes and One Camera with Mike and Jackson Langford at Dad-O-Matic (Chris Brogan’s dad site — boy we’ve come a long way since Ward Cleaver). The video is eight minutes worth of endearing but brings up some fascinating points about this new group of kids growing up in a digital and social world.

He refers to the generation after Gen Y as social natives. Collectively, they are a group of people who have never known a world without social media. My children (aged two) have always had the Internet, will learn to read on a computer or through a computer game way before I learned to tie my shoes. They’ll be members of an online social community before they attend kindergarten and will establish friendships — not necessarily with the kid next door or even the kid in the country next door.

Mike Langford also points out how this generation is going to be able to stay in touch indefinitely, unlike mine, which if you went to a different highschool or middle school, you never spoke again. (I’m over exaggerating a little. Some of my junior high buds have friended me — but we still don’t “talk.”) Langford brings up a whole host of interesting things to consider including business, networking and geo politics.

These social natives will look at the world in a way we probably can’t even begin to comprehend. I chose my college and my sorority (in addition to the educational value) for the networking connections I thought I could garner from them. This younger generation won’t have to be so provincial in its thinking — they’ll probably be connected to dozens of organizations and have a webputation for employers to explore before they’re even old enough to drive.

I know it’s difficult with the economic pressures on most groups today to think past how you will solve the immediate problems you’re facing. But giving some thought to the kind of foundation your association, institution or organization is/should be building to attract these individuals may help you through today’s pressures as well.

What do you think? How will you embrace and communicate with these social natives? What will be the common ground upon which you meet?


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