Look to the right and you'll see a banner that lets you buy Jack Myers' new book. You should do that because it frames original research in Jack's educated view of the digital ecosystem.
Jack focuses on the 18-24 year olds, (Internet Pioneers), for whom the Internet has always been part of their lives, it is transparent. As a result, our culture will witness a giant leap in the boundaries of Internet applications over the next few months. Months.
The key findings relate to this age group's relationship to technology, but the interesting findings are their relationship to society.
For three years, from 2007-2010 my business partner was an 18 year old woman mentioned in his book. She was a groundbreaking video web star named Caitlin Hill; online she is TheHill88. (1988 was the year she was born.)
Caitlin had only one job before working with Hitviews, she was a receptionist. She couldn't do the job because she…didn't want to answer the phone. As a rule, Caitlin never wanted to be on the phone. Sure enough, Jack's research reveals that a majority of people in this age group would rather text and email than talk.
What his research did not explore (because it requires a separate study) is their perception of the importance of the written word. If your primary method of communicating is written rather than spoken, your level of precision in composition is greater.
Although Caitlin did not want to speak she wanted to be clearly understood. She demanded perfection in all of our emails. While I would dash off a quick note to confirm a meeting or point of information, she would furiously spellcheck and grammar check and fix every semi-colon in her writing and everyone else's before it was sent. Her writing was perfect and beautiful.
A shift from spoken to written communication favors introverts. Introverts have a hard time in a traditional corporate environment. When the work environment is the solitude of a laptop and headphones, introverts thrive. In their minds, conversation can't be corrected, but the written word permits perfection. There is no give and take in an email which is great because banter is an introvert's greatest fear. (Learn more about the Myers Briggs personality system here, take the test: www.pixiesdidit.com. Hey, it's my wife's business keep my home happy.)
On the phone, Caitlin could barely be heard, she didn't want to talk and she kept those conversations brief. When the mic and screen of her iPhone broke, she didn't care, as long as it could text, to her it "worked."
In my baby-boomer mind email writing is an unimportant scribble. In her mind, emails and texts were everything. Jack's research confirms that shift in importance from oral to written communication.
Because written communication is comfortable for introverts, their world view will find more importance in the business world. Put an introvert in a group-think and they shut down. The company does not benefit from their thoughts in a brain storming session because they are silent. Sadly people who are silent in brain-storm meetings are often perceived as not being team players or being lone wolves. (The silent ones view the loud ones as barking dogs.) Emails and texts level out personality traits and allow ideas to guide the conversation.
The future clash in most companies will not be between young and old or entrenched versus newcomer, it will be between those who communicate effectively in writing and those who do not. Think about how many owner/CEO's pride themselves on not knowing HOW to email. They imagine that email work is like typing or faxing or a lowly clerical function. CEO's or other C levels who decide to delegate email are delegating their jobs.
Jack's book covers Internet Pioneer's engagement with society. It suggests that Internet Pioneers seek an unstructured work environment, more vacation time over higher pay, several career changes. They are progressively tolerant of people of diverse backgrounds, are health and diet conscious and very leery of authority. Having seen studies of college students over the past several decades, the social trends studied suggest that it would be safe to replace the word "Internet pioneers" with college age "baby boomers."
Click the banner and buy the book.