If you are in your thirties or older, you might remember a working life before the internet. For Generation Y, the equation is more simple – most people in their twenties and younger don’t remember a social life before the internet.
The up-and-coming cohort wants everything instantly – they can’t be bothered waiting for computers to start and for applications to load. Such youngsters have multiple applications running and want to be in touch with their contacts all of the time.
Everything stops for interaction: texts must be viewed instantly; email must be always available. This “instant response” culture must respond to all internet-enabled contacts instantaneously.
Such interactions will also be in multiple forms: several chat session will take place alongside Facebook and MSN, while the youngster is also listening to Spotify and Tweeting their thoughts to the wider world.
This combination of instant response and multiple forms of interaction has created a multi-tasking generation. This group thinks nothing of always being ready for online collaboration.
Such multi-tasking also has a significant social effect. The internet has become a way of life for the younger generation; after all, they simply know nothing different.
Their lives are intrinsically linked to being online and having instant interaction. It is model of collaboration that affects their broader life and youngsters now behave socially like they would online.
The multi-tasking generation is able to comfortably maintain two or three conversations at the same time. What would seem rude to Generation X and above is simply a normal way of conducting conversation.
The result is a new way of communicating. What has become apparent is social change driven by technology. Rather than society simply choosing to implement tools, technology has been adopted and appropriated to create a subtle difference in the way that conversations are maintained.
This transformation is only likely to become more intense. Facebook has just claimed its 500 millionth user and younger individuals are able to boast a contact list across various platforms that includes just about everyone they’ve ever met.
For the older generation, such connectivity sounds daunting. But it is a social change for which Generation X and above simply must be prepared. Your newest workers will be multi-taskers. Eventually, such multi-taskers will run business. Is your organisation ready for the technology-led social transformation?