- Kris Kristofferson (made famous by Janis Joplin)
The current generation gap is predicated on the expectation of privacy, or rather the lack thereof, according Emily Nussbaum in her New York Magazine article: Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll.
Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online.
She's got a good point, if you approach the social software world with the idea that you can't hide anything (no matter how hard you try) then you might as well hide nothing. That attitude allows a greater sense of freedom when posting blog entries and joining social networks.
So imagine today's teens becoming 30-somethings and the impact their attitude will have on business. Today's "collaboration enthusiasts" will no longer be "reminding" users to "link rather than attach". And, gasp, e-mail may eventually become passe? (One can only hope). It'll be the old-time "e-mailers" clutching to their PIM devices and personalized tools that will be the ones calling the help desk and recreating the Medieval Tech Support scenario circa 2015.
Still, I suspect that I'm going to be one of those privacy nuts holding out to the end ("compared to the scoll, it takes longer to turn the pages of a book"). I know that as much as I like to share, I also like to hoard, locally. Something I learned as a descendant of the cold war and most likely can only be explained in Jungian terms. The pack rats of the future will store their "stuff" in accessible places (public and corporate networks) and on someone else's dime. Free comes with a price, less privacy. But if you have no expectation of privacy in the first place then the price isn't so high. And if the users are OK with it, then social software and collaboration are just a matter of habit.