Soccer moms, text messaging, and the inevitability of virtuality

Category under: Change, Gen-Y & Gen-Connect

Virtuality.jpgA few weeks ago, I arrived in my hotel room, and connected back to my home office via Skype. I found my sons using my Mac (long story!), and proceeded to have a one-hour video conference with them.

During this time, I ordered room service, my dinner arrived, and I ate it. All this time they played a variety of video games, worked on homework, and I unpacked my suitcase and organized my stuff.

All the while, we chatted back and forth. My youngest son made a comment at one point: “it’s just like you’re at home.”

That’s the thing about this next generation and their concept of “where is “there”.” To date, few organizations have really taken to videoconferencing and other forms of virtuality ; yet as today’s 15 year old enters the workforce in the next decade, that is all set to change.

One of the most significant trends I cover in my “What Comes Next” trends perspective is this one: “Resistance retires.” It’s worth a read — simply put, within 10 years, much of the workforce will have grown up with technology, and the pace of how different the workplace, workforce, structure of the organization, structure of the working day, and everything else, is just going to be torn apart and rebuilt.

You can see the signs of the aging of Gen-Connect with today’s new “wired soccer mom.” Alabama’s Times Daily just ran an article examining the phenomena, and I’m quoted liberally thorughout the article:

Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends and innovations expert, said moms between 25 and 32 grew up right along with the technology that enables them to communicate via text.

“It’s technology that’s been around for between 10 and 12 years, so they probably started texting when they were kids in nightclubs, and now they’re the parents with little ones,” he said.

For those who didn’t grow up with it, texting might not ever catch on, Carroll said, and e-mail will remain the way to communicate electronically.

Already, text messaging, which is known in the wireless world as SMS, or short message service, has been adapted for weather and safety alerts on college campuses in the U.S. as well as a violence prevention tool in Kenya, Africa.

So much of this, Carroll contends, is a result of people such as his 12- and 14-year-old sons growing up using the technology and finding ways to apply it in the real world.

“We’re seeing this come into the work force and influence the way we think, act and communicate, and you’ll see that these younger users won’t think a thing about sending a text to a peer in the business community or even a young doctor preferring to send a text to a patient,” he said.

The key point is, anything is on the table, and were in for massive changes in the workplace because of simple demographic change.


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