Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Millennial Generation

Back to Online Information 2007 and a presentation from Mary Ellen Bates (describing herself with charming self-effacement as the "digital grannie") on the Millennial Generation. Definitions vary, but these people never saw the Berlin Wall and never knew life without the Internet. What is their attitude to information and search?

From electronic games, the millennial generation has learned that:

  • failure doesn't hurt
  • risk is real
  • leaders are irrelevant
  • coaches are unnecessary
They thrive on ambiguity. Millennials have less interest in "authoritative" sources and trust their ability to evaluate the worth of an information source.

I was very conscious of her observation that personal networks are key to the way they search for information. This reassures me that the development of work and industry networks that we are undertaking is exactly the right way forward for tomorrow's workers.

So how should workplaces accommodate millennials?
  • Give them room to explore
  • Offer experiential learning
  • Learning is play, not an investment
Mary Ellen's website is here and her presentation here.


Marie L Radford of Rutgers School of Communications, Information and Library Studies shared some interesting research outcomes on behaviour of Millennials.

They score lower (ie do less often) than adults on:
- thanking
- self-disclosure
- closing rituals

But higher (ie do more often) than adults on:
- Agreeing to suggestions
- using lower case
- greeting rituals
- admitting lack of knowledge
- interjections
- slang

Millennials trust peer reviews twice as much as the average adult.

No comments: