Tuesday, March 3, 2009

moving forward

I was recently talking to my aunt about helping her daughter create an online profile. From that conversation, I started thinking about my entire family “being” online. From old to young, what would it look like if my Grandpa all the way down to my young cousin were online and connected? This leads me to the overall generational differences that exist between, not just my ninety-four year old Grandfather and twelve-year-old cousin, but folks of all ages using the Internet. The chart below takes a look at a variety of online activities from ages twelve and up. You'll see that Gen Y leads the charge of folks online getting info about jobs while Gen X leads as the generation researching for a job.

This chart also demonstrates that my twelve-year-old cousin is amongst the second largest group likely to create a Social Network Site (SNS) profile. On the other hand, my ninety-four year old grandfathers' group, when added with his cohorts in the two previous age ranges on the chart, equal only eighteen percent of folks fifty-five and older who have created online profiles for SNS.

Clearly, getting a job is not the objective of my young cousin when she asks for my help in creating her first online identity. Likewise, my Grandpa is beyond looking to get back in the job market but both of them have similar hesitancies about managing their online identities much like many of us.

I recently interviewed a woman that we will call Jane* about using the Internet as a job search tool. Jane shared with me that in her experience, there is an enormous difference in older users on the web. Jane sees that older executives view the interactive space as a “pain in the ass.” They don’t want to deal with it and would rather have someone come in and make everything work and make all the tech problems go away. One of the things that Jane explained, that I would also encourage anyone who is not tech savvy to do is - surround yourself with the people that DO know what they are doing and can help inform, guide, and support you.

Friends, our next step to full-time benefits and 401k contributions is to start creating online career profiles (next posting). If you feel a little web-wary, do like my cousin did – use a lifeline and call a friend to help.

*Jane works for a local government agency and is not permitted to be quoted as a source unless she goes through her corporate communications department, which she says will take forever. We’ll hear from Jane in later posts.

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