It is not too often that we Generation Y members can inherit wisdom to our superiors with great acceptance. In fact, we have been widely criticized for a lack of work ethic and sense of entitlement. We will be the first to admit, we still have plenty to learn. However, when it comes to the world of new media, we have a keen advantage over 'elders' and can likely teach them a thing or two. After all, we have been involved with social media for years now. Moreover, we've been doing it for fun.
Social media is taking corporate America by storm. Executives from large and small businesses alike must educate themselves and follow this trend or it is reasonably they will slowly become more and more obsolete as change-ready firms leave them in their proverbial 'dust.'
As communications professionals it is our job to stay informed on this trend. We must understand and convey the most effective ways to communicate our clients' messages. Until now, new media has been an extension of our social lives. We are able to chat via text in real time using instant messenger or, as we call it, "IM" and we spend hours searching for old friends from across the globe on social networking sites. Who would have imagined that our fun could be repurposed for business life!
Companies worldwide are beginning to use the social networking and video posting sites that we've been using for years (not to mention reading our blogs and vlogs), so it is important to not underestimate the technology involved.
It is also vital not to underestimate the knowledge your younger staff has to offer with regard to the best utilization of new media.
We do not guarantee to be experts and quite frankly, we do not fully understand the capabilities that these emerging technologies can offer, but we would like to share some basic knowledge from a communications perspective.
Social Networking Sites: In the most basic terms, a social networking site connects its members through an online portal. It is parallel to a networking event. Your online profile serves as a virtual business card. It is one of the simplest forms of new media and the first step you should take when adopting a new media strategy.
We suggest you refer to facebook.com, myspace.com or linkedin.com to begin growing your social network. In our opinion facebook.com is more appropriate for top-level executives, where myspace.com serves those individuals more involved in pop-culture that might attract the more unsophisticated side of people's interests. LinkedIn.com is newer and more tailor toward business professionals, and is picking up steam.
Video Posting: If you have not heard of YouTube, you have a lot to learn. For our purposes we will not hold it against you (just hire a Gen Y'er immediately following the completion of this article). YouTube is a video posting site where any person in the world can create, edit and post video content to the internet.
You probably wonder why the phenomenon of anyone with a computer and a camera becoming an editor, director and executive producer all in one, really matters to you. "Will it Blend?" is your answer. Directly after hiring your Gen Y'er please Google "Will it blend?" It is the story of Tom Dixon, founder of Blendtec who posted video of himself blending ridiculous things such as iPods and marbles. This video resulted in his blender sales increasing an exponential rate. We guarantee you will find this clip interesting and it might even inspire you to grab your video camera and get filming!
Blogging: Blogs are another very simple, albeit powerful, form of new media. Blogs are an individual's documentation of anything that would like to share with the Internet community. Simply put, a blog is a digital journal with no key.
Some blogs are personal and share life stories: we have a friend with a family in London that posts on a blog two to three times a week to update her family in the States on their pursuits across the ocean.
Some blogs are topic based: as self-proclaimed fashionistas, a large part of our fashion sense is gathered from blogs such as dailycandy and whowhatwardaily, rather than flipping through the pages of the latest InStyle magazine.
Either way you look at it, blogs act as essential sources of information and are an excellent way to quickly reach a broad audience with your message.
As we said before, we are not new media experts. While us Gen Y'ers feel we can boast our knowledge of new media because a lot of this is old hat to us – the truth is, there is still so much we need to learn.
Personal Life versus Professional Life – Where to Draw the Line ?: Since social networking sites, uploading photos to the web and watching videos on YouTube for entertainment purposes have come as second nature, we face a dilemma when trying to decipher where our personal life ends and professional life begins on the web.
For example, you can befriend collections on Facebook, but there is an awkward, "do not want to share too much" moment. There is a fine line that constantly lifts and it takes true poise to find the appropriate balance between private and public life. This challenge is constantly irking Gen Y.
Technology Behind the Tool: Also, while we can spend hours messaging friends, blogging and sharing videos, we understand what we're doing and the overall benefits, but we do not need to understand the technology that goes into making it all happen.