DOD’s blog: Does generation Y really communicate differently?

I am always a little suspicious about analysing behaviours based on generations. I get that you are shaped by your world experience, but I do think that too many attributes are assigned to generations when they should be assigned to age.

Generation Y is seen as lacking loyalty because they have short job tenures. Of course they have – they haven’t been in the workplace long enough to clock long years, particularly those who are battling to get jobs in the first place. Was Generation X any different at the same age?

Ditto interest in finances and pensions – which cash-strapped generation of 20-somethings from any of the past five decades was more interested in savings than today’s youth? Zero, in my opinion.

Where there does seem to be a big generational difference is the way the various age groups communicate. Put your hand up if a parent (or grandparent) of yours still emails round robin jokes or uses a ‘non-smart’ mobile phone. And the teenagers you know – are most [BlackBerry Messenger] BBM addicts?

These two groups are the bookends to the vast change in communication we have seen in the past 20 years, with more to come, no doubt.

This is a gentle reminder to all of us that just because we are comfortable with a particular type of communication – formal letter, What’s App, LinkedIn, email, text, Twitter and so on, and on – it doesn’t mean it will suit everyone, hence why the art of communication really is an ‘art’.

Debi O’Donovan


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