The Internet and Diapers

I read an interesting article yesterday in the Tampa Tribune entitled “College Freshman Never Lived Without the Internet” which really struck home in terms of looking at the next generation of document professionals.

This Associated Press story reported that “according to an annual list this years college freshman class will be the first to be younger than the World Wide Web.” (or in diapers when it came into prominence)

Most of these students, born in 1993 have different perspective on many fronts and view things differently:  (some of these are listed in the article)

  • Amazon is not just a river.
  • PC does not always stand for politically correct
  • LBJ is LeBron James, not a president
  • Text messaging is better than calling
  • Facebook is their social conduit
  • They can write a whole story in Text Message Shorthand
  • (Feel free to add more)

Looking at this, the rapid change in technology and the evolution of how young people communicate is molding a new work force that is constantly multi-tasking using different media, has instant access to information, can instantly communicate with their circle of influence  and whose mind share has increasingly become fragmented as a result.

What does it mean for companies who hire the class of 2015?  They will need to look at different ways of exchanging information, capturing mindshare and challenging them to be creative.

For the “old timers” this is going to be a bit of change but we only need to look at companies like Google and Microsoft in terms of adapting the work environment to meet the changing workforce.

Many people are annoyed at the constant texting and viewing of emails on ever advancing smart phones.  But like any technology or human behavior, if corralled it provides a great deal of opportunity.  I remain intrigued as I look to the next generation and how technology will drive their day to day work habits and how companies will adapt. (Our 2012 conference next March will have some sessions addressing the new work force and will address challenges companies will face.)

As you look toward the future what are your thoughts on the next generation of document professional? What are some of the challenges we face?

Going  4 *$  BBIAB  (Going for Starbucks be back in a bit)