More Q&A from Twitter about the Digital Divide in the Workplace

by Laura Ellis on February 12, 2009

After yesterday’s show on the digital divide in the workplace, we got several more questions and comments via Twitter (we’re @soatalk). Our guest Jason Falls, social media guru and co-founder of Social Media Club Louisville was nice enough to revisit the topic and share his thoughts. Thanks to Jason and to the Twitterers who sent their questions!

From @chandlerhora: i see this as “cooperative competition”

Jason’s Answer: I could see the generations both cooperating to teach each other their respective strengths while competing for the attentions and praise of management. But I think the younger generations will be more competitive but the older generations will mostly win out because they bring the strategic thinking and maturity that comes with years of experience.

From @gbullard: is there a hazard with those on the other side of the divide feeling left out?

Jason’s Answer: Sure there is. If management and the younger generations don’t bridge the gap with the boomers and non-tech savvy, they’ll feel alienated, unproductive and ultimately fulfill that prophecy. On the opposite side, however, it’s more subtle but long-term negative. If the older generation doesn’t bridge the gap with the younger in terms of professionalism, maturity, strategic thinking and the like, the younger generation will have scads of potential that will probably never turn to ability.

From @gbullard: are the benefits/dangers of services like Twitter or Facebook creating a more personal web of communication b/w coworkers?

Jason’s Answer: The benefits include stronger interpersonal relationships and a better connectivity in the digital space (improved communications). The exposure to some of the personal information we share on these networks, however, can be a danger, too. Communications between co-workers, even in the social media space and made during off-hours, can feasibly be subject to harassment policies. If you post a suggestive comment to your girlfriend on Twitter, your co-workers see it and are offended by it, you could unknowingly create a hostile work environment.

From @ganter: how does the digital divide rank in terms of other pressing needs when speaking about poverty and disadvantaged groups?

Jason’s Answer: All “issues” are relative and certainly the concerns we have with the digital divide pale in comparison to poverty and disadvantaged groups. But the show wasn’t about ranking the most important issues we should focus on. It was about the digital divide. Frankly, I think we should end violence against women, cure cancer and figure out how to save the environment, too. But that’s not what they asked me to talk about.

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What do you think? Do you experience a digital divide with people at work who are more or less comfortable with technology than you are?

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