Generations and Technology

Generational diversity has been a popular topic at the ASAE & The Center Technology conference. People are obviously aware that the youngest generation in the workforce (and most of your association’s future members) views and uses technology differently than the rest of us. But I was particularly interested in some statistics presented in yesterday’s opening session.

64% of young people in the U.S. "add or change things online." The Internet is not just a vast expanse of information that we can access. I notice that I still often think of it that way– since I grew up without access to all that information instantly, that is what seems so cool.

But the younger generation is not just about reading what’s out there, they are creating, changing, adding. That has huge implications, not only for how we do things online, but how we run our organizations in general. The definition of collaboration is changing, and I’m already noticing how "old fashioned" I am in my assumptions.

And a more staggering statistic, by the way, is related to our typically isolated view of the world in this country. While it is amazing that 64% of young people in this country are adding and changing online, that figure is 94% for young people in India and China. Oh yeah, and there are TEN TIMES as many young people in those two countries as there are here.


  1. 01.02.2008 at 9:56 pm

    These figures cannot be correct. Perhaps you mean 94% of youth who use the internet in India and China are adding changing stuff online. There is a significant proportion of youth that don’t have internet access in those countries.

  2. 02.02.2008 at 6:16 am

    Yes, Ben, I assume you are right. Thanks for catching that. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

  3. 11.02.2008 at 2:36 pm

    As a college student, I preferred small classes to large lectures so I could particiate in class discussions. What I failed to understand at the time, was that I could only discuss what I already knew, and I needed to spend more time listening and learning than orating.
    It’s not old-fashioned to think that you can learn a lot from informational sources (provided they are fact-based and not opinion-based).
    Changing copy is fine, but you need to keep learning to develop the wisdom about what needs to be changed and what doesn’t.
    P.S. If posted information is factual, then why is it being changed?