How Old Are You? (The “Empty Quarter”)

The ‘Empty Quarter’

Here is the way that I break it down…

– If you are under 26 years old or younger, then you probably already ‘get it’
– If you are a over the age of 30 and internet / tech savvy, then you probably ‘get it’
– If you are over 30 and are not internet / tech savvy, then chances are, you probably ‘don’t get it’
– If you are between the ages of 27 and 30 then I would give you a 50/50 chance…but if you are reading this blog, then mostly likely you ‘get it’

I’m talking about a generational gap: between people who grew up with the internet and those that did not.

Ask yourself the questions…

– Do you have a profile on a social network? (Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, etc.)
– Do you text message?
– Do you read blogs?

If you inherently ‘get it’ then understanding Enterprise 2.0 will just ‘make sense’…it won’t be a stretch for you to realize that the concepts of participation (Web 2.0) can, should and will be applied to business.

If you inherently ‘don’t get it’, don’t fret. The good thing is that you don’t have to be a geek anymore to use and benefit from these new networking and collaboration tools. They will feel as simple as using email. You might have to stretch yourself, and you will certainly need an open mind, but soon, you will ‘get it’.

So the “Empty Quarter” is the set of people out there who grew up before the internet and who haven’t quite mastered it yet. The good news is, the Empty Quarter is rapidly shrinking.

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3 Responses to “How Old Are You? (The “Empty Quarter”)”

  1. Marc Donner Says:

    Check out Mark Prensky’s stuff (“Digital Game-Based Learning” or “Don’t Bother Me Mom, I’m Learning”) … he coined the term “Digital Natives” for people who grew up with computers and the Internet and who take it for granted, as contrasted with “Digital Immigrants,” the folks who came to the digital world after they grew up.

  2. adamkcarson Says:

    Thanks Marc…I’ll check it out.

    One of the things that I’m most interested in about Enteprise 2.0 is, ‘how do we convince the Empty Quarter to adapt?’

    Adam

  3. Diana Stinson Says:

    As an older than 30 something person I would like to submit a few comments…
    I taught computer classes for adults whose children wouldn’t help them. Their usual line was “my son/daughter can use the computer, but doesn’t know how to teach me.” Even as adults, many of them managed to learn the computer/Internet technology and have went on to get jobs in the computer field. I believe age is not a factor in the “get it” or “don’t get it” categories and that learning, whether during childhood or as an adult is a lifelong process.
    Some of the adults managed to learn along with the children/teenagers as the technology developed in the 1980-90’s and are as adapt to the digital environment as the under 30 crowd. Didn’t some of the over 30 crowd have to help the children learn how to use computers, provide Internet access, video games, digital toys, etc., while they were growing up?
    Also, there are children and young adults who didn’t have computers or the Internet while growing up and are as behind as some of the adults who didn’t take the time to learn. This scenario is referred to the “digital divide,” which hopefully will become more narrowed in the future. I believe your “empty quarter” actually refers to the “digital divide”.

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