How will you find them 4 Comments

Andrew is a college senior. So are his friends. They were bright kids coming out of high school. They are bright kids coming out of college. And they are influencers. One will be working in student development, influencing college student. One will be working for a major financial information company. One is already a freelance reporter. One may be going to Spain for a year.

And they couldn’t care less about companies excited about using Twitter and Facebook.

That’s not completely true, of course. They have used both of those platforms. It’s just that they are moving away from the “bright shiny objects” until they can figure out why the need them. A couple of his friends have deleted their Facebooks. Others have made them private. Only one of them has ever used Twitter, the rest think it’s too public and silly to tell everyone what you’re doing all the time. That one came to the same conclusion, and deleted his Twitter account.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 20% of online young adults (18-34) have used Twitter. (here’s the report). But the median age is 31. The median age of a Facebook user is 26.

Andrew and his friends are 22.

The problem is that many of us start using social networking platforms to connect with younger people. However, most younger people use social networks to connect with each other, not with their parents or companies.

Here’s why it matters. These bright kids are adept with technology. They are intelligent. They are likely to be hard workers. They are the very people that companies need to hire to shape the future. And they are taking for granted what we think is cool. For example, Andrew was five when I first connected to Moscow by ftp. I was enthralled. He was bored at the lines of text on the green screen.

This isn’t to say that Twitter and Facebook are not great tools for networking and socializing, but for some people, including the people that are expected to participate, they just don’t seem to work.

Intriguingly, part of the reason for pulling back from public platforms may be the recruitment process itself. The stories are told about recruiters looking at Facebook. Kids respond by taking down their Facebooks. It may not remove all the data, but it does remove that environment for connecting…with us anyway.

Build your social media strategies. Get excited by the coolness. But remember that the kids will grow up taking for granted what you think is cool. And they will be your company.

Jon Swanson is a blogger and communication scholar and a pastor. Andrew Swanson is an English and Communication media major, graduating in late 2009. This post was written together for The Talent Buzz blog post contest.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Sunday, March 1st, 2009