Saturday, October 11, 2014

Does Age or Personality Create Success with Technology?

The "generation" discussion seems to be coming into vogue again. Five years ago it was a hot topic and the reason I chose the digital divide as the topic of my blog was because I saw older people struggling to adopt a new way of networking. I saw younger people having an easier time with the technology, but not having the work/life experience to communicate well.

I'm a late Gen Xer, which really means nothing because I am a product of so many other situations and experiences beyond the fact that my parents are baby boomers. One "Gen Y" trait that I do have is that I am open to technology. This makes me think that the digital divide is the conversation we should still be having and we are stereotyping people the wrong way.

The "generation" discussion seems to be resurfacing - partially thanks to my friends +Joe Martin and +Whitney Wilson. Joe started the #GenYMtgProfs hashtag and they have now presented on the topic at least twice. I was fortunate enough to see one of these panel presentations at the MPISCC Weekend Education Summit. The topic of what future generations want to get out of meetings and events is valuable and I hope they continue to refine that discussion.

I tell people all of the time that I think success with new technology has more to do with personality than age. I know lots of baby boomers who enjoy using social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, etc. At the same time, I hear about younger people who don't use social media (or certain platforms) or are just not interested. Until Gen Yers get enough professional networking experience in the traditional (old) way of doing it, they don't make the connection to how they should be doing it online.

Regardless of whether or not "kids" are using Facebook these days, our entire society has changed and we won't be going back to a time where we don't communicate online anymore. Most people have adapted. It was harder for some than others - depending on age, to an extent - but I think personality as well. What do you think?