Gen Y’s Effect On Business Social Technology Isn’t As Big As Some Have Said

Here’s a funny finding: The youngest members of the workforce aren’t the drivers of social technology use in business. How can this be? Haven’t we been told that the generation that made MySpace and Facebook popular would be the one that dragged stodgy, old companies kicking and screaming into a 21st century where corporate hierarchy is flattened through Web 2.0? Don’t companies need to adopt wikis and blogs in order to recruit and retain Gen Yers? Well, the early returns say the answer is, “no.”

According to data Forrester collected in our recent Workforce Technographics® Survey, Gen Y is mostly underrepresented in activities such as reading or publishing blogs, using RSS, and reading online forums for work. Who are the social technology gurus in the workplace? Gen Xers, individuals 30 to 43 years of age, are the leaders in every Enterprise 2.0 (Web 2.0 for business) activity we tracked. Taken together with the recent revelation that teens aren’t driving Twitter use or the memo from the Morgan Stanley intern explaining youth technology use, a conclusion is coming together: Just because it’s new doesn’t mean the youth lead the way in using it. It also raises a bigger question: What is the actual effect of Gen Y on business?

This larger question is something that I will be discussing in an upcoming teleconference, Gen Y And The Future Of The Workplace. I’ll be joined by senior analyst Claire Schooley and researcher Heidi (Lo) Shey. You can register for the teleconference and join the conversation here: http://www.forrester.com/rb/teleconference/gen_y_and_future_of_workplace/q/id/5923/t/1.