I met two very interesting women from Gen Y (Gen Y are today's young kids waiting to get into the workforce, Gen X who are the junior level working crowd, and baby boomers are those who are senior menagement type of crowd). I took my two minutes to glorify my interest about the social computing trends these days, but it took even lesser time to know (or should I say feel good to hear) that they dig the web. We instantly connected!
They couldn't imagine a life without the internet. One of them, studying public health, kept talking about how she used the web to research, while the other studying international business, talked about how she used MySpace to connect and keep in touch with friends. Just by the way, "Search" and "Social networking" are two of the five underlying concepts of Web 2.0.
They were excited, or at least they showed the interest, to know that I was bringing Web 2.0 inside the enterprise. They also raised their eyebrows to the fact that the lives that Baby boomers are living is so stereotypically money minded and usually lacked the passion for what they did. They would swear they never take up anything that did not motivate them. What they didn't realize is that people like us, i.e. Gen X, constantly live in a state of confusion -- not being able to reconcile with the fact that we are not always doing what we want to do with our lives. The former lady had served in India at a few villages that aided her research and wanted to continue serving the needy. She wouldn't, however, want to let go of her world pleasures of partying once in a while :) This one disliked MySpace though as she felt her life would be a little too revealed if she acted as one of her friends on the site. When we talked about Kiva, the public health lady hadn't heard of it when it actually affected her career more than the international business lady who had heard about Kiva on the Oprah show.
Anyways, it also felt nice to share with them about my work in the enterprise context, which is not as important to note as much it is to mention the takeaways from this meeting with strangers from Gen Y (two in mumber, not a statistically significant number but still noteworthy):
1. Gender: Women are as excited, if not more, about social computing. Popular belief says that usually women aren't as tech savvy as men, so does that mean that "men as well as women equally enjoy social computing"!
2. Web 2.0 in the enterprise: Definitely, they would prefer having to work with Web 2.0 technologies and be more productive as they are used to these technologies outside the enterprise. So as a business, wouldn't you want to provide the tools to your employees that they are most familiar with!
Conclusion: Gen Y will prefer to use the Web 2.0 tools at work. The question is not when but how ready or how fast will leadership introduce these tools in their organization. Read more on what Gen Y really want.
Do you think Gen Y will choose to work with a company that empowers them with Web 2.0 tools? What do you think about the willingness of leadership to welcome Web 2.0 inside the enterprise?