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Ssssh...The Kids Are Trying to Work

The conventional wisdom driving a lot of the Unified Communications hype is that once Millenials enter the workforce, they'll demand social networking and all kinds of other communications tools that enterprises are currently struggling to come to grips with.

The actual situation is a lot more complicated. For one thing, social networking is already in the enterprise, as business use of Facebook increases, and earlier-generation communications channels like IM complete their transition from kid-driven to enterprise-mainstay.

The other thing is that, as this study shows, kids are not as dogmatic as we might think when it comes to their choices for information-gathering. The AP article notes that while young people use library computers, they also turn to reference books.

Probably the most unexpected finding is that library use is actually higher among young people today than it was a decade ago, when fewer people had home connectivity of any kind, and certainly broadband was less abundant.

Which brings us to the bottom-line lesson for me: What I gleaned from this article is that kids are using libraries more because libraries have been changing to accommodate the new realities. When you think about it, libraries should be a good fit for young people: They're a one-stop information shop for users that have a wide range of information needs; they can serve a social as well as utilitarian purpose; and they generally provide effective customer service.

So to me, the lesson for enterprises facing UC is, yes, you have to make your communications systems more engaging for young people, but the whole process is very much a give-and-take.