Gen Y finds a new C or two at Summit

Collaboration and communities to the fore as youth has its say

The first-generation of the Digital Strategy centred on “the three Cs — connection, confidence and content,” but right from the outset of Digital Summit 2.0, the emphasis was on the Web 2.0 Cs: collaboration and communities.

Websites offering passive content are “yesterday’s technology”, says Pamela Minett of ymedia, a company formed to help media graduates make contact with the industry, and one of the "youth" delegates at the conference. The future lies with interactivity and social networking — finding other people and exchanging ideas with them in a multimedia channel where you can “watch them and see what they’re thinking”, she says

“Face time” will be replaced by “Facebook time”, where you can find the right people to bounce ideas off and milk some of their knowledge, she told the conference. What gets Generation Y ahead in their chosen field is “not what you know, or who you know; it’s who you know who knows what.”

Generation X people may have created social networking sites like Bebo, “but we worked out how to use them [productively],” Minett says. What young people want, she says, is the right environment to grow in their knowledge and ability.

This approach must extend to the conference itself and future communication between government, business and the community, adds Areti Metuamate, who was recently named Wellington Community Leader of the Year and was also brought to the summit as a representative of Generation Y.

Young people have been brought to government and industry-run forums before, he says, but have been left in doubt whether what they said has really been heard. Too often the experience has been similar to traditional marae protocol, he says, where the young are expected to sit at the back and “be seen and not heard”.

“Engage with us, speak with us,” he told government and industry representatives “don’t just speak at us.”

Metuamate denies Generation Y has a self-centred attitude. For example, he says, they will be responsible for putting into practice the sustainability policies now being formulated. Environmental responsibility will start with using collaborative technologies to avoid needless travel, he says. But green measures also have to be realistic.

“We [the younger generation] have different networks, connections and communities,” he says. “Give young people a voice in your organisations.”

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