Long story, short: I’m friends, Facebook-style, with Howard Kurtz, Media Critic at The Washington Post and CNN. Officially, we’re “poke buddies.” (And, you’d really have to be a Facebook user to understand that.) I found in my FB conversations with Howard, a place and space to extrovert some of my thinking — as both a newcomer and generational outsider — about Facebook.
This morning, in one of Howard’s pieces for The Post, he quoted me, using one of my comments about Millennials and their odd-to-older-folk volume of posting in social networks. To give the quote some background, I’m republishing, here and below, what I wrote, with the quoted passage bolded. (Hey, I may not have the publishing institution of The Post behind me but I gotz my own blog, so I’ll use it.) Here goes: (Btw, I’m forgoing quotes and block quotes, as everything below this point is my writing.)
OK, so I learn about / watch / analyze generational differences like a hawk. Not that my perspective is “right” … it’s just my perspective. So, first, re: the 600 photos of oneself phenomenon, Millennials are a “very special” generation. Wanted or not, they’ve had adult attention on them in spades, since day one of their collective births. No latch-key kids here! No walking to swim team practice by themselves and swimming unobserved with nophotos taken. Nope, everything they do is important. (And, there are deeper reasons for this, as they will become our next hero generation, like the GI generation, with a natural orientation to public service.)
I do agree with you that they are smart, savvy and digitized. They are also *bright*. Bright-eyed. Bright-faced. Bright-spirited. They are also unpotentiated. (I might have made that word up.) They *will* become important. But right now, they’re kids and young adults (max age is 25) with a capacity that hasn’t been honed. And it shows very much in how they are not presenting themselves in a nice light. There’s this “I can do anything, say anything, post anything, write anything” attitude, with virtually no understanding of the repercussions (residue).
Professionally, one of my income buckets, has morphed/developed into being a strategist and consultant for how people / companies show up online? What is their online profile? How do they look when Googled? So this stuff fascinates me …
Back to showing themselves “in a nice light:” One thing, to their collective credit, is that Millennials are posting much of their 600 photos in a place that is specifically off-limits to search engines. Facebook is designed not to be searchable, and to date, the Technocratis and such, have respected Facebook’s request to leave their data alone. (I’m not a geek, so I can’t speak to the specifics of how this works.)
Millennials have put much of their voluminous, unedited, spur-of-the-moment pics, wall posts and online affiliations (groups and such) into Facebook, away from adult eyes and search engine tracking.
But now, Facebook is growing up, as its users are. Now, more adults (moms and dads), potential employers, neighbors and community members have access to profiles and means for getting more data out of Facebook.
So, will Millennials go more under ground with their social network, or will they clean up a bit and be more attentive to their profiles, such as their profiles inside social networks such as Facebook and their Google results?
There is another reason for their voluminous postings, and it has to do with WHY Millennials communicate with each other with such frequency. But I’ve already written much this morning, and I’m losing steam here.
You might have to have a Washington Post Online account to access the full article; it’s free. You can always read the article by friending (that’s a verb now) Howard and reading his posted notes.