Recently, an HUC student emailed me for help getting people to take a survey about Millennials working in the Jewish community. I learned real quickly that I was too old for that. So I sent it onto members of our faculty.
Then comes a book, Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World, which offers another name for that generation: Net Geners. Again, it makes it very clear: I’m too old.
Considering tomorrow is my birthday, that hurts. But more interesting is the definition (which helps me understand my kids better):
Net Geners are currently in the range in age from 11 to 31.
But what really makes Net Geners different, Mr. Tapscott says, is their lifelong experience in using the Internet. Their parents were a television generation that watched the tube an average of 22.4 hours a week. Net Geners watch TV only 17.4 hours a week on average, but they spend 8 to 33 hours on the Internet. Whereas TV is basically a one-way broadcast medium that requires only passive participation, the Internet is a collaborative medium that invites simultaneous participation from multiple users all over the world.
Mr. Tapscott identifies eight norms of many members of the Net Generation: they prize freedom; they want to customize things; they enjoy collaboration; they scrutinize everything; they insist on integrity in institutions and corporations; they want to have fun even at school or work; they believe that speed in technology and all else is normal; and they regard constant innovation as a fact of life.
So they are better at the internet, and they expect more justice in this world than the rest of us. Bodes well for the future. I think.