At my daughter’s college graduation a few years ago, the speaker warned each student not to get complacent. “You’re on the cutting edge of what’s happening,” he told them. “You know the hot bands and the new technologies. You’re helping to form trends in society. A year from now that information will be outdated.” He went on to tell them to begin reinventing themselves, immediately.
A recent article from the American Express OPEN Forum furthers the point in an article on reverse mentoring that was featured on Mashable. The basic idea: Industry veterans can learn from digitally savvy newcomers, the so-called technology natives, who have little memory of what we might call LBFB (Life Before Facebook).
While we certainly have found this to be true at Charleston|Orwig, I think there is an interesting wrinkle to the “native” theory of adopting technology.
Many of the tech natives we see are remarkably adept at using social media for social purposes. Applying business value to Facebook or Twitter or FourSquare is not necessarily automatic. As the article points out, both the younger and the older have a lot to learn from one another. This is especially true for the integration of new and traditional communications tools.
Social Media is the buzz right now. As it ceases to be “the” topic and continues to become integrated into communications programs, the real value will be in those who can strategically use all the tools at their disposal. So, old guys learn from the young. Young guys learn from the old. Then go make something happen.