While much of the generation-based research seems more likely to produce buzzwords than to actually provide a meaningful framework for thinking about social or cultural trends, a new report from Accenture on the tech habits of Millennials (people born between 1977 and 1997) confirms a broad trend I’ve heard a number of faculty commenting on: Basically, college-aged folks just don’t like to use e-mail, and prefer to use social networking sites, instant messaging, and text messaging instead. These preferences mean that younger employees are often just making their own IT policies. As Frederic Lardinois summarizes on Read Write Web:
“…this difference between expectations and reality has led over a quarter of the employees surveyed by Accenture to use technology that is unsupported and unsanctioned by their corporate IT departments. Almost half of all Millennials who use social networks, blogs, vlogs, or Twitter do so without support from their IT departments (and often against the IT policies of their companies). Millennials also see no problem with using unsupported mobile phones or instant messaging services at work.”
While the report seems to make much of the fact that these Millennial workers often don’t even know their company’s IT policies, I wonder how many older (or even slightly older) employees are that well-versed in the regulations and guidelines enforced by individual corporations. Further, I’m not sure that the lag between employee preference and company policy is particularly novel. In any case, you can read a lengthier summary of the report here.