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Do the Millennials Need Some Evangelizing?

September 7, 2010

Yeah, yeah – we’ve heard it all before.  And we’ve heard it over and over again.  The Millennials are tech-savvy; they’re always online; they’re driving the way we communicate with each other through their extensive use of social networking.  If you need to figure out how to use “that twitter thing” ask a Millennial.  Well, I don’t buy it.

Sure – they’re plugged into Facebook as if it’s the IV drip that’s keeping them alive.  Agreed.  Last year I attended a local SHRM student chapter meeting, and as they were discussing chapter business the chapter President asked “should we send an email or just post it on the Facebook group?”  99% of the 40 or so students in attendance opted for Facebook – the lone holdout who wasn’t on Facebook and desperately clung to the idea of email was what we would call a “non-traditional” student.  But when I got up to talk to them about networking and using social media/engagement tools to assist in their professional development, learning and ultimate job search, once we moved passed Facebook, the level of usage dropped.  One student was using LinkedIn, none were reading blogs or engaging with HR practitioners online, and zero were using twitter.

At about the same time, we conducted a social-media usage survey of our employees and found that just 3% of our workforce was using twitter.   75% of the users fell into the Boomer/Gen X cusp group while the remaining 25% were straight-up Gen X.  Since that time, we’ve added  a few Gen Y’s who are using twitter.  Progress!

Now, none of them are what I would call active twitter users.  I have yet to see a tweet come out of the Gen Y’ers, and the others are rarely active.  Perhaps they’re all lurking; I semi-lurked for a good 6 months before I became an active user.  But I truly hope that they’re gathering information and gaining knowledge and are merely hesitant about furthering their level of engagement.  I find twitter to be such a great tool for finding information, starting conversations, reading/learning and connecting with people in a whole new way.

So my mantra continues to be one person at a time.  Come on in, the water is fine.  I’ll be your evangelist.

And that’s what I’ve learned today.  You’ve been schooled.

p.s.  don’t even get me started on HR’s usage of social networking tools.  That’s another post.  So here’s a great resource for HR professionals……check out Mark Stelzner’s Twitter 101 for HR

4 Comments leave one →
  1. akaBruno permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:54 am

    I hypothesize that one of the reasons students haven’t adopted Twitter is whether or not they have a smartphone. Those with smartphones are more likely to be avid users. I’ll be doing a study this fall to see if this might belief might be supported.

  2. September 7, 2010 8:17 am

    While I haven’t done any official studies, I have absolutely found the same thing — with both LinkedIn and Twitter. It was very surprising at first, but then the more I thought about it the more it made sense. It seems to me the use of Facebook in Millennials is primarily social — not necessarily about true networking as we may think of it. The value of being resourceful, continuous professional development, and building/nurturing a network admittedly did not dawn on me in or just out of school. As such, I find myself giving this important advice more often than anything….

  3. September 7, 2010 1:35 pm

    I’m in the same boat. I make recruiting presentations at colleges, I ask the students to set up LinkedINnprofiles and send me invitations to connect, and I only hear from 1-2 of them. I think the questions regarding experience level are daunting to a college student or recent graduate.

  4. Robin Schooling permalink*
    September 8, 2010 11:14 am

    Agree w/ Matt – access to a smartphone surely makes adoption of some tools much easier. The non-use of LinkedIn continues to amaze me however; I think if new-users/students, etc. search and view some sample profiles, the idea of setting up their own may not be so daunting.

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