Twentysomething: Gen Y is better than everyone else at marketing themselves

This is a guest post from Dan Schawbel. He is 25 years old and already, the New York Times has called him a “personal branding guru.” Dan’s book is Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and it just came out today.

Personal branding describes a process where individuals differentiate themselves from a crowd by articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.

Here are five reasons why Generation Y is better at this process than everyone else:

1. We have the least amount of responsibilities.
Personal branding is a very time consuming exercise that most adults don't do because of the sheer amount of responsibilities they have, which are priorities to them. However, the more time you invest in your personal marketing efforts, the more successful you'll be. For Gen Y, the amount of hours we have left after classes, interships and jobs, is still greater than an older person in the workforce, with twin babies, a pet dog and a list of errands. Millennials can stay up till 2 or 3 a.m. growing our personal brands using social media tools, such as blogs and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Brazen Careerist, to become more well known in our industry.

2. We’re already marketing ourselves intuitively.
We're all marketing ourselves without thinking much of it, but Gen Y is doing it on steroids. Gen Y is all hyper-connected with mass media, including the fact that their cell phones are an extension of their hands and that we go online more than any other generation. Every time we send out a text message to fifty of our friends or update our status on Facebook to a few thousand friends, we're marketing ourselves to our world. Then our network spreads our messages to an even greater audience in just minutes. The many marketing lists we're building online, such as Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and YouTube channel subscribers, are assets that will be useful today and in years to come. Companies that we work for can get the word out for free using our networks.

3. We are equipped with a bottomless pit of marketing tools.
Every communication channel is a marketing tool, and since Gen Y is the most plugged in generation, there isn't a tool we don't touch. Aside from the phone and in-person meetings, Gen Y has instant messaging, Skype, social networks, blogging, podcast and more. By using these tools, Gen Y delivers messages faster and in different forms, so we can build our personal brand in a shorter period of time. Members of Gen Y are very proficient using these tools because we grew up with technology and can easily adapt to the changing technological landscape, whereas other generations have a longer learning curve.

4. We understand how to build personal connections to build a brand.
Gen Y'ers are the masters of social media, which means we understand that marketing exists through other people. We use social media tools to put us in touch with other people who can help make us more successful. Since we are young, we can connect with older generations who can share experiences, lessons learned and other career advice. We are more productive at work by being connected to more people who can help answer questions. Gen Y-ers can position themselves in their company as the go-to-person for all technology needs, making them an invaluable asset to their work group.

5. They have no choice but to be marketing mavens.
Standing out among the millions of job seekers is quite hard in this economy and the competition to succeed in any industry isn't declining anytime soon. Internship hiring will be cut by 21%, co-op hiring by 11% and 22% less jobs for 2009 graduates, according to NACE. The amount of pressure on millennials is immense and it forces them to rethink the way they are perceived and how they market themselves to stand out from the pack. Gen Y can showcase our website, blog and other unique items that can differentiate us, relative to other applicants that are applying for the same jobs. We spend more time figuring out what makes us unique, compelling and marketable to employers because otherwise we’ll be jobless.

This is a guest post from Dan Schawbel. He is 25 years old and already, the New York Times has called him a “personal branding guru.” Dan’s book is Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and it just came out today.

Posted in No image, Promoting yourself, Self-management
111 comments on “Twentysomething: Gen Y is better than everyone else at marketing themselves
  1. Steve says:

    As a boomer the perceived arrogance of the author certainly does annoy me. However, I must congratulate Mr. Schawbel on being savvy enough to convince a large group of people, including the NYT, that he is an “expert” in his field. Is he savvy or is the audience gullible? I’ll leave that to the experts.

    I do have to wonder though that with everyone working so hard to brand themselves, at the end of the day, who is actually doing the work? Last time I checked inventing ones self is not actually a product or service to be sold or exported.

    I also must take exception to the assumption that Gen Y is better equipped to utilize the technology of today. Those skills are simply a matter of desire, initiative, and need. Not something that is unique to any particular generation.

    As far as being plugged in and connected 24×7, Gen Y can have it. I don’t need to be Twittering or posting to Facebook while I’m out with friends, on a dinner date, or perusing the aisles at the grocery store. I’d much rather hear someone laugh during a discussion we’re having as opposed to having to read “LOL” or “ROFL”. Call me old school, but I still prefer my personal branding and networking to be conducted on the golf course, at a dinner party or ballpark. Its leisure, its enjoyable, and its personal.

    Now I must be off. I’m involved with a personal project to brand myself online as a ruling monarch. Wish me luck!

  2. Matt O'Hern says:

    I totally agree with the “fewer responsibilities” factor. Millennials’ demands for a customized and simplified lifestyle have re-written the rules for effective marketing techniques. I posted similar entries on my blog, marketingshift.com , this week.

  3. Steve C. says:

    Learning how to use spell check would go a long way towards giving these “tech-savvy” wannabe gurus a hint of credibility.

  4. Kate says:

    I love it when Penelope posts her Twentysomethings posts…they’re HILARIOUS, and always good for a laugh. The comments are even better; the indignant Gen Yers defending themselves from the howls of mirth from their more experienced colleagues and insisting that they’re just the next step in evolution and no one understands how wonderful they are.

    All I can say to a few of my twentysomething colleagues and colleagues-to-be on here is that someday, it’s incredibly likely that life circumstances will force you to take a job that IS a “pencil-pushing” position that does not “value you as a person” and fails to acknowledge your status as the Specialest Snowflake Of All.

    At that point, you’ll have responsibilities and committments, car payments, rent, or even *gasp* CHILDREN. And it’s going to be a terrible, terrible shock to you when suddenly, what YOU want and YOUR demands and expectations aren’t the most important reasons to make employment decisions anymore.

    Good luck, and feel free to blame your parents for most of the inevitable pain. They should’ve (figuratively) smacked this petulant narcisissm out of you YEARS ago, forced you to get a job, or at the very least given you a realistic deadline for moving out of their house.

    As an employer, I find very little value in “brand,” unless it’s backed up by substance; as such, I’ve already turned down more than one twentysomething who’s marched into a job interview and started making demands and boasting about their wonderfulness. They branded themselves, all right…as people I would not under any circumstances want to work with.

    I’ve also hired more than one Gen Yer who totally broke down this stereotype, and who are incredibly hard-working, bright, responsible and talented. Not one of them tried to send me to their Facebook so I could “‘get’ their brand.” Bad branding, in other words, is far far worse than no branding at all.

  5. J. Atkinson. says:

    If you want to see the power of social networking tools in action you need look no farther than the front page of the New York Times.

    “Protests in Moldova Explode with a Call to Arms on Twitter”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/world/europe/08moldova.html?scp=2&sq=Moldova&st=cse

    The article alleges that 6 people were able to mobilize a crowd of 15,000 in a matter of hours to do something that while somewhat scary may bring about real political change. Comparing this to similar episodes in the history books makes those events look glacial in evolution by comparison.

    I am 25 and was initially skeptical about the usefulness of social networking, but now see that it has become an amazing tool to do things outside of the internet world. I want to start a blog about social entrepenuership and start building my personal brand. I think that the post above does a good job of pointing out an important fact that personal branding is all about selectively marketing yourself, learning how to emphasize strengths and seek help to improve weaknesses. I think Gen Y may be better at social networking than any before precisely becuase we are conditioned to constantly making these choices. We are constantly considering what information to mke public about ourselves and the best way to find instant answers to things we don’t know.

    To that end, Does anyone know where I can get good advice on the technical side of starting a blog? I have seen a lot on this web site about why to start a blog and how to conceptualize it, but I have not yet seen much about the technical how.

    I really appreciate the daily dose of inspiration this community gives.
    Thanks,

  6. Maria says:

    One thing I find interesting is the notion that every GenYer is tech savvy. They know they technology they use, and some don’t even know it that well. From others, I have learned some cool stuff. I know plenty of GenYers who don’t know how to use Outlook that well, schedule meetings, use Word, Excel, solve small PC issues, etc. Some use Twitter, some don’t. Some don’t use Facebook, some don’t text that much. Which, of course, makes them just like every other generation – you know what you have learned to know, probably for a job or hobby. Please don’t make the assumption if you hire someone from this generation that they are going to know everything about every technology tool they use – they don’t – and that’s okay. I have usually had to learn something about a system, tool, whatever, at every job I have had. Again, this is what happens when you deal with arbitrary categories like generations.

  7. Steve C. says:

    “Emily Yoffe’s article contributes our suffering economy to the narcissism of America.”
    Oh please!
    A confession here: I read these kiddie-blogs(occasionally) to amuse myself with the functional illiteracy of the bloggers and their followers in the comments sections.
    Their time would be better spent reading some real literature rather than chattering away on the new media sites. Reading professionally edited literary works is an enjoyable and effective way to get a free education, especially in the use of the English language. If that’s too time consuming for you, you could try keeping an old boomer tool handy: a dictionary.

  8. Christian says:

    It’s true that gen y is more adept at social media. I see that everyday. I’m surprised at how many older people, however, who actually *apply themselves* ultimately become equally effective.

  9. Ginger Rose says:

    I can’t resist one last comment… what is all the networking gaining you? If you’re lucky, there’s a shred of information or a legitimate job connection mixed in with all the social exchanges. But if you can’t do anything with that information or connection, it’s useless. I think, specifically, of a comment one of our interview subjects had to say about the perpetually networked: “They are ideal cocktail party guests, knowing a little about a lot”. Unless you can transcend the superficial knowledge and actually synthesize it into intellectual gold, it’s still just dross and a bunch of fluff in your head.

  10. Matt Cheuvront says:

    @ Ginger – ‘all the networking’ landed me a job that I’m very happy with right now, I’ve met some amazing people which has translated into ‘real life’ friendships. So I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

    To each his own Ginger, it isn’t for everyone.

  11. I Need Money says:

    I think it is because people on average are waiting longer to start families and have kids. A lot of people are leaving marriage off until they are well into their 30s. Very different from the baby boomers.

  12. Sally says:

    It’d be great to read a post from a Gen Y who’s actually done something real and tangible, other than self promotion. Hugh Evans is a great example. He’s an Aussie who started “doing stuff” in High School, started a successful organisation, wrote a few books, advised Government, speaks around the world. He’s probably used some personal marketing to raise his profile, but on the back of some impressive work. He is 25. Sign me up for that post.

  13. rennie says:

    Matt Cheuvront, where do you work? I take it you have the day off today?

    You’ve posted at least 5-6 comments on this topic alone, throughout all times of the day. If you’re at work and have time to be so involved in PT, you’re either not doing your job or you need to find a more productive position.

    If you’re at work and I’m your boss, I’m thinking of firing you.

  14. Matt Cheuvront says:

    I’m not in the office this week – but thanks for your vote of confidence ‘rennie’.

  15. sixtypoundhound says:

    Uh…no…while I agree with the premise that Gen Y is a lot better at self-promotion than us crusty old X’ers, I disagree with the idea that this adds value in the economy we’re living in today. Frankly, if I saw a little less marketing and a little more doing, listening, and owning (as in “your program, your problem”) from the Gen Y crowd I’d rate your career prospects a bit higher.

    Frankly, having managed and coached a number of Gen Y’s, most of whom are smarter than me (and had better academic records, not that mine is shabby), I’m of the opinion that you guys (as a group) are incapable of working your ass off to execute someone else’s idea and program. I’m talking about hard, highly unglamorous, detail-intensive work. You guys do great work when it’s your way…but slack off when I want you to do it my way.

    Here’s a little career tip – at the end of the day, most managers value discipline, consistency, and loyalty over potential and initiative. This isn’t personal – the hard reality is I can build and run a large team of people if THEY ARE HIGHLY DEPENDABLE AND DO THEIR JOBS (disciplined, loyal, and consistent performers). My effective span of control is limited by the degree to which I can rely on people to do their jobs without my supervision. And when the team is down to only a couple of swings at bat (which is a good summary of this economy), the firm’s survival odds are maximized by having a core of people who can consistently crank out solid (but not brilliant) results rather than a high maintenance “swing for the fences” type who wants to do it their way.

    By the way – I’m not putting down innovation, creativity, and marketing…in fact they have been key elements of my personal success. However – without a solid foundation of execution skills, you will not have the respect to move past the early stages of the talent show.

  16. Nicole Garton says:

    This is definitely accurate! I’m 24 and am very conscious that much of my online activity is self-branding.

    I’ve transfered my social media savvy to my job, so that my non-profit now has a Twitter account and a Facebook page. These tools are essentially free advertising that is relationally-based, which is much more powerful in forging a connection with interested parties.

    I’ve also harnessed the power of social media to raise awareness and funds for other causes I’m interested in. I created a Facebook cause called “Save MOCA” that has raised $500 and has almost 4,000 supporters. I know maybe 10 of the people who joined, and yet this group has grown geometrically in a few weeks.

    I’ve even monetized my blog so that, should my blog grow in popularity, I could potentially make a substantial side-income from the advertising dollars.

    It’s worth noting, too, that Gen Y is a fairly indulged generation and we are self-centered. (This may due to the stage of live we are in, as well). However, despite this, or maybe because of it, we are also very active on behalf of causes we believe in, and I think since they are important to us, we believe they must be important to others, as well. We constantly feel the need to express ourselves and to define ourselves. The problem therein is that sometimes this can lead to over-sharing, and pre-maturely acquired intimate knowledge about someone we don’t really know.

  17. Peter Clayton says:

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan for Total Picture Radio and I found him to be smart, hard working, and passionate about his idea of personal branding. Dan does have a day job (EMC). When he was writing his book, trying to find a publisher, 69 agents turned him down, laughed at him, and told him to “come back and see me when you’re famous.” Well, guess what? He’s famous.

    Dan’s success, like so many of the people I’ve interviewed from every generation, has to do with the fact that the Dan’s of the world believe in themselves, their ideas, and absolutely refuse to give up.

  18. prklypr says:

    a bunch of useless fluff and another post about someone’s book. C’mon, get back to the good stuff.

  19. Hutchie says:

    I know this is terribly unfair…but I am so so so so so sick of Gen Y. Sick. There is no substance behind the hype. And they may be slick at self promo, but their 2-WAY communication sucks. It’s about what you can do for them and if you don’t step into line, they sulk. I’ve seen it so many times. They get flustered and confused when they hear no. And they are adept at working social media, but basic, basic conversation? Not so much. I think I am just so over the generational analysis and ranking. Whenever I see the title Twentysomething, I sigh, swear, roll my eyes and move on.

  20. Sara says:

    Mmmmm, I don’t know. I checked out this guy’s website to see what he was about, and I found some things to be… bizarre. I really hate to be critical, but for someone who puts himself forth at a personal branding expert, I feel like he needs some image coaching himself. His video resume is super awkward and halting, and it’s obvious he’s reading off cards or something (there’s a part where he actually looks down to see what to say next. is that really his best take? if so, maybe forego the video resume). I can’t imagine listening to him give an actual speech. Also, his press photos also look awkward and unnatural, like a 15 year old dressing up in his dad’s suit.

    I feel like taking advice from him on personal branding would be like hiring an image consultant whose friends think she needs to go on What Not to Wear. Public speaking and knowing how to put forth the right image to succeed are both hard skills to acquire and I’d be much more forgiving of someone who wasn’t putting himself forth as a personal branding expert.

  21. marianne says:

    Whatever. Talk to us again in 20 years.

  22. Dubai Jobs says:

    Dan, you raised some excellent points. Really appreciated!!

  23. Bette says:

    Most 20 somethings are into slick, smooth, fast, furious and have the constant “look at me” attitudes. But lack experience,that only being on this planet affords you.
    How about problem solving, conflict resolution, creative blocks, compassion for others (not just YOU) and personality discernment while in conflict? No amount of marketing/technology can afford you a better branding resume than working with lots of people face to face, without being half attentive because your device is calling. Humble yourself…..you become better at it with time too.

  24. Marci says:

    I don’t think you could pay me enough to write for this audience. It amazes me how this blog brings out so many nasty comments. No, you don’t have to agree with someone or his opinions, but is it necessary to be so personally vindictive?

    I think that all of these mean remarks are from people who are jealous that a 25-year old has managed to make a name for himself – and publish a book. Just remember – what goes around comes around. Someday, someone will be there to trash you. Hope you can take it as well as you dish it out.

    • Truth Hurts says:

      Truth is a bitter pill to swallow. People commenting here are being truthful with what they are saying… finally. None of this glossy “I’ll say you’re a genius on your blog and you say it on mine” crap…

      Generation Y is like a train wreck. It’s so fun to watch unravel.

  25. Xavier Truman says:

    A welcome response to all those whinging MSM stories about the trouble with Gen Y in the workplace.

  26. Shawn says:

    I think you’re spot on! Technology has allowed everyone, but especially Gen Yers, to become microcelebrities.

    I can’t speak about an entire generation, but I can say Dan Schawbel is better at marketing himself than almost anyone else from 8-80.

  27. Mickey Van Roo says:

    One of the best quotes I’ve ever seen is very applicable to Gen Y’ers and to a lesser extent other generations:

    Never mistake activity for achievement.

    By John Wooden, famous UCLA B-ball coach. Ultimately, business will value an individual’s achievements and results. The Y’ers assume that texting and twittering and Facebooking and networking are results. No, their activity – they are impediments to results in the work place.

  28. Randy Zeitman says:

    “Standing out among the millions of job seekers is quite hard in this economy and the competition to succeed in any industry isn't declining anytime soon.”

    Sorry…but it’s not hard at all… all they have to do is learn to read and write.

    In the last 2-3 years I’ve received perhaps three dozen resumes and I’d give every one, except for 2-3, a C, D, or F grade. (And no question my worst subject is English so there’s no issue about me being unfair.)

    And!..on occasion when I marked up a resume and sent it back the reply was a variant of “Well I’m not applying for a writing position so it you don’t like what I write don’t hire me.”

  29. Angela says:

    I agree with this post to a certain extent- yes Gen Y’ers are getting out there and gaining popularity among their networks, but what about all the people who don’t yet subscribe to that kind of networking as legitimate? I just spent a year working for someone who looked at his computer as a fancy word processor. Yes, he is behind when it comes to being tech savvy, but he is a successful baby boomer who still values face to face interaction and a strong handshake. If Gen Y’ers don’t learn these valuable skills, I’m afraid they will lose out on a lot of opportunities they won’t find on Facebook and Twitter. I’m 28, right on the cusp of X/Y and I’m trying to mingle the “old-fashioned” with the “hip” marketing to remain relevant across the generations, and that’s a full time job in itself! The book would be more effective if it outlined how these skills could be applied cross-generationally (yes, that’s a new word…)

  30. Paul says:

    Individualism is a privilege, not a right. You earn it by not being it. By supporting someone else’s brand, not promoting your own. By providing exchange value first, then focusing on your own utility.

    Yes, you’re right, loyalty is one-way – upward. It’s still the price of admission.

  31. Kevin says:

    Gen X built all the stuff Gen Y plays with to keep them from being too productive.

    Had to keep the competition down somehow.

  32. Diagoras says:

    “We understand how to build personal connections to build a brand. Gen Y'ers are the masters of social media…”

    I suppose in a sense that’s true. But what Gen Y doesn’t understand is that sheer numbers of connections aren’t the same as quality connections. Gen Y needs to learn that having hundreds (thousands) of “friends” isn’t the same as having (or being) a real friend. A relationship is always about authenticity and truth, and the ability to form real connections, not just having followers on twitter or “friends” on facebook.

    I work and go to school with many Gen Y people. In my experience, for all of their internet knowhow, none of them seems to be able to connect on a deep level. If you want a great personal brand, stop trying to manufacture one with miscellaneous tweets and become a person that other people know, like, and trust.

  33. Paul says:

    Diagoras is right. Especially about the word “become.” You, Mr. or Ms. Gen-Y, are going to have to go out of your way to reach out and be positive to people who may not reciprocate. To people you may not even like or respect all that much.

    And you’re going to have to do it all the time, until it becomes second nature. Once you feel yourself getting sick half to death of it and asking, “What about me? When is there some me-time?” – you’ll know you’re on the right track.

    This is a major lesson not just Y’s, but a lot of us X’s, still have to learn. Life is not just hard: if you do it right, it is at times absolutely f*!!ing impossible. If you don’t feel like giving up sometimes, you just aren’t trying hard enough.

    The reward is all on the come. Once you are connected with others, you will be part of something that can see you through a lot and bring you a lot of joy. But until you put everything you have into it, you will get nothing out of it.

    That is what perseverance is: you keep on keeping on because you believe, abstractly, with no need or thought of reinforcement to keep you going. And that’s why Xs and Ys don’t persevere well.

  34. John says:

    Typical American shite .. since when is a person a “brand” [1]. It’s bad enough that the marketdroids have convinced individual members of the public to look upon themselves as a “consumer”. What? I’m a PERSON! Maybe I’ll buy some piece of crap from some stupid company ..or maybe I won’t. What the hell is happening to the world! This mentality is going too far. I’ve been writing complicated software for 15 years so maybe I’m missing something. People, please step away from the Interwebs.

    – John

    [1] From the built-in dictionary in OS X:
    “brand |brand|
    noun
    1 a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name : a new brand of detergent.
    – €¢ a brand name : the company will market computer software under its own brand.
    – €¢ a particular type or kind of something : the Finnish brand of democratic socialism.
    2 an identifying mark burned on livestock or (esp. formerly) criminals or slaves with a branding iron.
    – €¢ archaic a branding iron.
    – €¢ figurative a habit, trait, or quality that causes someone public shame or disgrace : the brand of Paula’s alcoholism.
    3 a piece of burning or smoldering wood : he took two burning brands from the fire.
    – €¢ poetic/literary a torch.
    4 poetic/literary a sword.”

  35. Kelly Cahill says:

    Differences…. It is truly amazing how often we, as humans, tend to focus on what makes us different from people around us… He is young… His ideas are bizarre. Just 25- what would he know? Tech savvy- does that really come with being born in a specific time period, even if technology is more readily available? “Generation Y” a completely different breed. But are they really?

    In my opinion although the surface details seem dissimilar, the soul of each generation remains the same. When parents look at their children and can’t help but focus on the outlandish differences, I feel that if they looked a little harder, they would see more similarities of their own past. Although environment does play a crucial role in the upbringing of each generation, equally does genetics. At the end of the day the “differences” may often be the hidden or forgotten traits of the past generations.

    In generations pasts & generations to come, there we be each category of “people”. Their will be that are tech savvy, and ones that will never truly understand outlook. As well as the groups that praise peace & happiness, or ones that rebel to seek their own freedom. 8-Tracks, cassettes, down to the first telegrams or even more historical- starting the first fire. Technology is defined by its essence of being-beyond who is creating or learning it. We may not exactly remember who invented what, but we do have a pretty good idea of what came first. Each generation’s technology is build on those past.

    As per the communication skills: Generation Y can make meaningful contacts, just the same as those in past generations. Some people may have better social skills, skills that may make them more profitable, but there will also be those in every age group that lack the very same communication devices.

    I just feel, that for the overall well being of all generations, we should not be pinpointing our differences, but rather embracing our similarities. In the end that is how good contacts are made. That is how we place a guiding hand on our futures.

  36. Tyler says:

    Gen-Y’s are a baby boom generation. Power by numbers.

  37. Deborah Johnstone says:

    This post may be late in response – somehow via a LinkedIn group I found my way to this post – but the comments were very interesting; a fascinating insight into the cultural shift that technology has created. Social Media Marketing and "Branding" by the Gen Y'ers has usurped "diets" as the landmark craze of the decade. You can find any number of books, blogs, websites, experts, and gurus, ready to guide you through the covert workings of monetizing your presence online. And just like the next big "Sure-Fire Diet", the patina quickly wears off once the user discovers how much work is actually involved and how much time it takes to realize a return on investment. In other words, telling someone [or blogging about] how to accomplish something, is infinitely less time consuming that actually doing it.

    The worst of the World Wide Web is a conversation that involves reducing humans to a demographic and squeezing out the largest common denominator. Intense commercial marketing is conducted toward this juicy demographic by the hippest hucksters on the planet. As television ushered in the age of excess and we all believed we had to have two cars in the two-car garage, so to, do we appear to need everything that is flashed on the Web.

    The computer age is laying waste to the meek and the mighty, equally. As technology engulfs jobs, people, economies, and transforms our very understanding of existence, it completes the cycle by rendering old systems of knowledge obsolete. It is in this transformation that we are both blinded and lead.

    "Print technology created the public. Electric technology created the mass. The public consists of separate individuals walking around with separate, fixed, points of view. The new technology demands that we abandon the luxury of this posture, this fragmentary outlook." Marshall McLuhan wrote this in The Medium is the Massage in 1967 – €“ long before computers consumed our every waking moment. His prophetic observations predicted the “invisible environment” and I give you the World Wide Web. The clarion call for symbiosis is echoed throughout other socio-historians work. In 1988, At the Edge of History author William Irwin Thompson – €“ an equally prophetic mind – €“ predicted that a "wave" was on the horizon for the nineties, and to him it looked like a Tsunami. He summarily referred to an “emerging global economy” being connected via a network of computers. It is precisely this connection that banishes borders and demands a new vision of life necessary for our evolution to continue. But are we really able to realize this vision of connection?

    To be clear, I'm in no way against technological progress – €“ only the misuse of technology. Civilization has flourished based on Man acquiring technology and learning how to manipulate his environment, thus ensuring his survival. Once Stone Age Man switched from food-collection to food-production, the technologies he created would beget trading routes, towns, and the need for centralized hierarchies to control production and consumption. Not far off would appear Kings and paupers, the Pharaohs and the pyramid builders, and the middle class and Bernie Madoff.

    What will be the outcome? The disenfranchised will perish, as always, and Darwinian evolution will kick in until successive generations – €“ surviving by living off the fruits of a new world order – €“ stumble upon the next big technological advancement. I predict it will be time-travel, but we won't be here to verify that. Just take if from me, time-travel is a shoe in.

    Cheers,
    Deborah Johnstone [Baby Boomer Extraordinaire]

  38. boohoo says:

    Deborah Johnstone, “social darwinism” is NOT “darwinian evolution” and they are not the same thing. What you are talking about is “social darwinism” sprinkled with a little “environmental determinism”.

  39. Tron says:

    Here’s how I came to this blog post: I searched Google for the term “sick of gen y” (with the quotes). It was the very first listing.

  40. social network says:

    Really great to see the power of social media

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