Want to see the future of communications? Look at today’s students.

November 5, 2007

Young people for the most part have led the digital revolution. And major innovations that have changed corporate and organizational communication have frequently been adopted first by young technology enthusiasts. I remember, years ago, when my kids were early teens and hooked on video games and adults were debating exactly how damaging this would be to their work careers, I said that in the future wars would be fought this way and work would be structured more in the form of video games because that’s what these kids were being raised on. Plenty of evidence of that now.

This recent conference highlighted the coming change in organizational communication in adoption of social media. Already we are seeing this on university campuses (see previous posts on this topic). Students are abandoning email in favor of Facebook and other social media sites. Linkedin seems to be gaining more traction as the social media site of choice for the more mature user–including corporate types.

There are many issues related to this including company policies on internal communication. From a crisis communication standpoint, just when people were getting used to the idea that direct emails to those affected by an event are critically important, now the ground shifts again. If students expect to hear about an event on campus through their social media site and not email, how soon will it be before workers within a large organization expect the same, or citizens of a community expect the same from those charged with their safety?

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