But will they “like” me?

That title may be the mantra of the as yet unnamed next generation. (Considering that we never fully agreed on what to call the last one, Gen Y or Millennials, this may be a moot point and whatever we call them they’ll probably resist it and come up with their own identity.) This hyper connected generation is having a huge impact on our economy, our means of communication and the frequency of communication. They are always in touch with their entire network and this is both good and a peril.

Mobile Gen

In a recent article in the NY Times about this mobile generation they were described as becoming more risk averse, more emotionally intelligent and possibly less innovative. They seem more dependent on the approval of others and more willing to “go along to get along.” Instant gratification plus less self assurance is a potentially bad mix. Will this generation that deletes pictures and posts if they don’t get enough “likes” in the first fifteen minutes be willing to go out on a limb for an idea that will require weeks or months of energy and investment if it will be ridiculed, or even worse, ignored by their network?

Their enhanced emotional intelligence is great but will this group be able to give constructive feedback if they’re so afraid of offending or being ostracized by their cohorts? As they mature and enter the workforce they can’t be asked to put down or turn off their phones. It just won’t happen. So how will this energy, these connections, this network be harnessed and used for good rather than evil? This is the challenge we and they face and will need to be resolved as the Gen Y/Millennials fade from being the hot, new generation to be understood and integrated and we address the needs and wants of the Online Gen. The App Gen? Mobile Gen?

If you’ve got an idea for a name I’d love to hear it. Post it in your comments for others to see and consider. I hope you get a lot of “likes!”