Over the next few months, I’m going to be adding some regular and occasional guest bloggers here on #tru. It is good to hear alternative voices, and to share some internet space with others far more interesting than me.
I’m delighted that Sarah Fuller will be posting here weekly, on all things Gen Y and social. Over the last year I have read 100’s of posts and heard plenty of comment on Gen Y in general and graduate recruiting in particular. I’ve read about internships, and Gen Y attitudes to all things social, quoting one report,study or another source. What I haven’t seen often of is much from Gen Y themselves. That’s why I’m delighted to welcome Sarah as a regular contributor to #tru.
If you don’t know Sarah, she graduated from UCL, and has been working as a Social Media Intern within recruiting and marketing as well as Social Reporting, while seeking the right opportunity to start her career. From my work with Sarah, I know she is a very sharp and adaptable cookie.
If you are looking for either an intern, graduate or trainee, I can give her my personal reference. Look her up or you can contact her through me.
Enough from me, this is Sarah:
Generation Y and Social Media: A Natural Partnership?
Over the past few months I have been fortunate to have worked on several occasions with Bill through various internships, so when he approached me with the idea to write a regular feature post for his own very successful blog I of course did not hesitate to accept. The brief was that it was to be a ‘Gen Y comment from Gen Y on anything social’. Easy I thought: I’m one of these ‘Gen Y’ers’, am becoming increasingly more addicted to social media and the opportunity to chat about this with people who could actually be interested would be great! (My friends are gradually glazing over with less discretion every time I bring up a new Twitter or Facebook stat; to say that they’re disinterested in social media would be kind.) All that was left was to think of a topic to kick off with…
Here I was, faced with an open canvas, yet nothing to say – how unusual.
I thought back over recent social media conversations I’d had and events I’d attended, looking for inspiration. It was then that I realised that with a few exceptions, and apart from the occasions when I had forlornly tried to spread some twitter enthusiasm in the pub, these discussions had all been with people traditionally deemed to be part of ‘Generation X’. Having previously already written about the general social media supremacy of the more experienced generations in the work place, I decided to revisit this argument from a new direction – it’s not necessarily that ‘Generation Y’ are less able at social media but that they simply have less need for it.
I remember being in my last year of university when the Facebook phenomenon began to hit England. Originally being an ‘exclusive’ club that your university had to first be accepted to, it seemed to take months before my classmates and I were granted access, watching it slowly make its way across the country. Had we of known then the impact that it would have upon our lives I wonder now if we would have embraced it differently, perhaps with guarded caution, instead of enthusiastic eagerness. At last we had a portal through which to share our photos, organise union events and discretely stalk that guy we’d been sitting behind for the past semester… Would other social media networks have been greeted with such enthusiasm?
The answer to this is no.
Linked In, generally regarded as the third most influential social network in the UK, was launched in 2002, three years prior to Facebook’s high school launch and four years before it was generally opened, yet it is still significantly underused by the Gen Y demographic. Even Twitter, which is similar in age and essentially the status update part of Facebook, lags behind in Gen Y numbers. This is because students (a large proportion of Generation Y) do not have a need for these other social networks. Not yet having the business contacts to bother with Linked In, or being tied down by the traditional 9-5 work day to use Twitter to chat to their friends, if deciding to use a form of social media, students are far more likely to rely solely on Facebook as their online photo-store, event planner and rumour mill. It is not until they are older that they will need the benefits of connections (Linked In) or information sharing (Twitter) that is being capitalised upon by generations already in the work place through these other social networks.
Therefore I thought that I would begin my post series by putting forward a statement in defence of my generation. Although statistically we may be less inclined to use social media, this is not because we are less able, disengaged from our peers or generally lazy, but instead because we are at a time in our lives where we simply do not need it. Understanding the technology and needing the technology are two very different positions.
I hope you enjoyed Sarah’s first guest post. If you have any comments or think this personal take is wrong, please leave them here. How social do you find today’s graduates and the recently graduated?
Thanks Sarah for your first post. I look forward to learning more about the real Gen Y viewpoint over the coming months. Thanks for being an ambassador of a generation.