In which parts of the world do students blog the most? Where do they podcast the least? Which global markets lead the way in Web 2.0?
A new global survey offers a worldwide snapshot of the digital generation. Titled “The Digital Generation Survey 2008: Communication and Working Styles of Tomorrow’s Leaders,” the report was conducted by Career Innovation, a research-based organization in the United Kingdom, in association with AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organization.
Perhaps most noteworthy, the survey revealed that certain technologies are used more extensively in parts of the world considered to be emerging markets.
For instance, blogging appears to be much more common in Asia than in other parts of the world. In fact, nearly three-fourths of the students surveyed in Asia said they had a blog.
“I think it’s linked to how people in different parts of the world develop their identity and develop their approach to collaborate with other people,” said Jonathan Winter, founder of Career Innovation. “So in parts of Asia, for example, the motivation for self expression is stronger than we see in established economies.”
On the other hand, students in established economies — including the United States, Western Europe and Australia — appear not to use technologies such as podcasting and mobile e-mail extensively.
“There are bound to be differences due to culture,” Winter said. “The interesting thing is that these differences in culture and the way people manage relationships have always existed, but this is the first time we [are examining it in connection with] social technologies and social media, which are relationship-based tools.”
Cultural differences aside, the survey reaffirms the commonly held belief that the Millennial generation is tech-savvy and constantly wired — a factor that companies looking to recruit from this generation must take into consideration.
“These tools are becoming a very natural way in which young people communicate with each other,” Winter said. “So to move into a workplace where these tools are either difficult to use or completely banned is going to be the first problem [employers] will find if they are trying to hire the digital generation.”
In fact, contrary to popular opinion, using tools such as social networking sites isn’t a waste of time, Winter explained.
The majority of people surveyed revealed that they tap into their social networks and related contact lists to derive certain work-related benefits, including finding jobs, volunteer work and answers to work-related problems.
For this reason, some employers have started to introduce these social media tools in the workplace, while others are experimenting with internal social media, Winter said.
“For example, BT — the telecommunications giant — has introduced their own version of Facebook in which they invite people to collaborate and share knowledge through internal social networks,” he said.
– Deanna Hartley, firstname.lastname@example.org