This detailed look at young adults in the workplace tells us some things that are not surprising: a 21-year-old entering the workforce today exchanged a quarter of a million e-mails, texts and IMs in her life. She is also far more likely to own an IPod, created a blog, or share a mashup What they essay does do is place this in a context “sharing, staying connected, instantaneity, multi-tasking, assembling random information into patterns, and using technology in new ways.” In one anecdote, an executive interviewing a young candidate:
…She was IM'ing, had her PDA on, her cell phone, the whole thing.... I was so put off. I thought, 'She's not paying attention!' And so I asked her, 'LaShonda, what do you think will be the impact of technology on the future of work
?' She looked me in the eye and asked, 'What do you mean by technology?' I looked at all of her gadgets on the table and said, 'Like this stuff!' She said, 'This is only technology for people who weren't raised with it….For LaShonda, IM'ing and texting are like breathing. Fish don't know they're in water. LaShonda didn't consider her gadgets technology."
While this may not relate directly to Boomers and texting, it does highlight one of the generational differences that texting has helped to create and intensify. Technology-scanning on the part of young people–what the author calls “continuous partial attention”–is a source of dismay to Boomers, who often see it as less efficient and more rude.
This paper discusses the conflicts and clashing behavioral norms experienced by Digital Natives (born 1978-1994) and Boomers, especially in the workplace. Like other scholarly works, it discusses how Boomers may regard Natives’ having of texting during meetings as ineffective, rude and even unethical. Telephone interview with Boomer CIOs and CTOs repeatedly doubt the efficiency and focus of texting colleagues and those who IM in meetings. “We’re encouraging ADD” is how one executive puts it.