Generation Y (sometimes called the Millenial Generation) is often touted as being technologically savvy, great at coming up with new ways to work and influencing the workplace as never before. They’re also said to be a bit whiny and have a sense of entitlement.
Well, it also seems they can’t keep a secret.
Now, before everyone starts hitting the “comment” button to send me nasty messages, I just want to outline a conversation I had with Marian Salzman, who is touted as being one of the world’s leading futurists/trendspotters, and chief marketing officer for Porter Novelli.She noted that with the “total transparency” this generation practices, it can be a bit tricky getting them to keep their mouths shut – and their fingers away from typing or texting everything and anything they know or think.
So, maybe you're thinking this isn’t such a big deal. Maybe you think it doesn't matter what they put on MySpace or Facebook or even LinkedIn. But Salzman thinks it's a problem.
“We’re going to have to teach this generation the rules of confidentiality,” Salzman says. “We’re going to have to teach them to keep secrets and to learn the value of privacy."
This is an interesting point, I think. This generation has grown up with 24/7 news and they are accustomed to finding out anything they want with a few keystrokes. They’ve been privy to many "private" issues, from celebrity sex tapes to embarrassing conversations in the White House. They’re very comfortable sharing any and all information online.
Would it necessarily be bad if they made the workplace more open? Or, could their lack of discretion and judgment cause them to share information that could damage a company in the short or long term?
Maybe only time will tell. For right now, companies seem torn. At a time when they fire employees for blogging about the job, they also are entering -- or at least exploring -- the blogosphere.
Do you think it's a fair assessment that GenYers can't keep their mouths shut? And, does it really matter?