I read a very interesting post by Zack Whittaker about Millennials and how social media has impacted their communication styles a few weeks ago that I’m struggling to address. I’ve started to write this post about a hundred times, but now I’m just going for the gusto. Time to get off the proverbial fence and share my opinion.
Preface: I was born in 1983 so I’m a Millennial and some of the bad press we have gotten bothers me. When I saw Zack’s article I was happy to see the primary portion of his article focuses on how social media has impacted the way we communicate.
One thing that is absolutely true is that texting and mediums like Twitter force us to whittle down to 140- or 160-character nuggets of wisdom, opinion, advice or humor. Seeing as OMG and LOL were added to the Oxford Dictionary this year, it’s hard to argue against the fact that these condensed forms communication haven’t changed the way we write and talk!
Zach also infers that young people actually read more often than some contend. And that’s certainly true. With the rise of gadgets like the Kindle, Nook and iPad people are more likely to read 3.3 times as many books. Americans in general are now more likely to read for pleasure than in years past.
My issue with this article was the suggestion that older people consider condensing written text into “shorter, easier-to-read fashion” as this may help get your point across in a “way that younger people will understand.” I don’t know about you – which is partially what inspired me to write this post, but I found this to be a bit demeaning to our generation.
- A Decode study suggests that though we may be tech savvy, only a percentage (37% of men and 26% of women respectively) think employers should allow access to social media at work.
- 50% of those 55-plus report using social media daily for business.
- The largest users of Facebook (37%) are those being 45 years or older.
Bottom line – social media use is prevalent in across all age groups. Just because Millennials happen to be some of the earliest adopters of technology, I don’t think this defines either how we communicate or how people should communicate with us.
Generally speaking, I think that our transition into a digital society has made the rate and way we exchange with one another to be much more hurried and abbreviated. I do think that what Millennials look for is to be communicated with as adults and with respect.
Many of us are in the early stages of our respective careers and, though we may be determined, we may occasionally be a little over eager and mistakenly think that digital tools can answers all our questions. But I think that’s more of an occasional occurrence than a norm.
Speaking from both personal experience and statistical evidence, the biggest thing Millennials typically look for in bosses or elders is quite simply someone to mentor us. In my experience, people who mentored me through my career have been invaluable.
Zack – I respect your opinion and though there is certainly value in being concise, I don’t think talking to Millennials as though you were Tweeting them will come off as anything but condescending.
What do you all think? Do you manage Millennials – if so what’s your experience? Does Zack’s recommendation hold water? Am I just being too sensitive because I’m reflecting on my own generation? Let me know your thoughts.
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