Nov 21, 2008

Essential Virtual Time (EVT)

Generations are often defined, and segregated, by new technologies. Baby Boomers were the television generation and it was often thought that the young Boomers watched far too much of it. Generation Y is the internet generation. Don Tapscott in ‘Growing up Digital’ (1999)[1] argues that, unlike their Boomer parents, where television could be watched by all the family, online games and networking sites are almost solely the realm of the young, which has created exclusivity and widened the generation gap.

This is reinforced by numerous media horror stories about the unseen force of the internet, with young people reportedly losing their lives to a fantasy online existence like World of Warcraft (Daily Telegraph, 2008
[2]). This can easily instil fear into the hearts of older generations, who do not fully understand the gaming culture and so allow fear-based assumptions to fill in the knowledge gap.

This is why sharing is important.

‘Sharing’ will result in both an explicit and implicit understanding of a subject, and allows both parties to identify with the other via these new mediums, which previously was the cause of fear and misunderstanding.

So, to employers and parents: Encourage your Generation Y to share with you their online world. Invest in some ‘Essential Virtual time’ and allocate a couple of hours being shown the delights of Facebook, Twitter, World of Warcraft and Second Life. Not only is this is a key to building lasting and meaningful relationships with Generation Y; It’s also the future of your business. The ability to harness online distribution channels and to create networks and communities around your business products will be the most powerful tool in the next 20 years for getting feedback, analysis and new product – ultimately staying ahead of your competitors!
[1] Tapscott, D., (1999) Growing up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation (McGraw-Hill: New York)

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