Twitter really hit the headlines today, being the lead story on the front-page of today’s Guardian newspaper, with news that UK primary school children will study social media such as Twitter and Wikipedia as part of a new curriculum that includes more modern media and web-based skills as well as a greater focus on environmental education.
If these proposals are accepted, then 11-year-old children will be leaving primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication. This will give them a headstart compared to Generation Y (see Why Generation Y matters), the cohort of young people born after 1980 who have largely gained their social networking skills and easy web familiarity without them being enforced through the education system. In a decade or so, then, could we might be talking about Generation Z eclipsing both Gen Y and Gen X with almost innate technology skills to bring to the workplace?
And while on the subject of Twitter, I mentioned some SME research about Twitter by O2 earlier this week; now it is the turn of rival UK telecoms business ntl:Telewest to shout about its Twitter research, which is reported in today’s Financial Times. This says small businesses are making more use of Twitter than larger companies (even including larger technology businesses): “Just 19 of the UK’s top 100 technology companies are using Twitter …. By comparison, in the US all the top technology companies use the service for marketing or recruitment purposes.” Stephen Beynon, managing director of ntl:Telewest Business, said: “The risk in not using Twitter is that these companies will fall behind transatlantic competitors.”
Presumably, most of these UK businesses resisting the Web 2.0 wave are still run by Gen X people. Now, it seems this generation of business managers is also in danger of being out-paced by its more web-savvy peers from across the Atlantic!