Thursday, December 14, 2006

On the Generational Digital Divide

There's an excellent article on the growing importance of computer skills (in the workplace, and beyond) over at FastCompany's site. I posted a sample from it below. The full article is definitely worth a look.

More and more of your social interactions are moving online. Here are 10 major cultural implications of social software's growth.

Social software is a subset of the broader set of technologies often called "Web 2.0." Traditionally, the Web (1.0) was comprised of simple HTML pages. Web 2.0 is a read AND a write medium. Because Internet literacy is now so widespread; because so many people have become comfortable with virtual interactions; and because of the penetration of broadband, the Web has become a social medium. Web 2.0 applications take advantage of that evolution. Quoting danah boyd, "The advances of social software are neither cleanly social nor technological, but a product of both."

We see 10 major cultural implications of the growth in popularity of social software, or more loosely, the fact that more and more of your social interactions are moving online.

Implications for Individuals

Basic computer skills really matter...and fortunately the next generation is much more technologically skilled than the current generation. It is harder and harder for blue-collar professionals, let alone white-collar professionals, to do their job without basic computer literacy. Think how often people of all socioeconomic backgrounds email one another, participate in web-based training, or apply for a job via an Internet portal. Just to get a job in the first place, you need to know how to type and how to learn new software programs reasonably rapidly. The good news: given that 33 percent of online teens share content (artwork, photos, stories and videos) on the Internet, the next generation will have an even higher comfort level with this technology than the current generation working in corporate America.

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