What Happens When Echo Boomers Take Over The Workforce?

A funny story came up the other day while I was talking with one of my daughters. We were reminiscing about the first time our home got the internet. When the internet first went mainstream my husband brought home a box and put it in front of my 2 daughters and said,
“Girls, I bought you the internet. It’s in this box. Have fun!”

It just makes us all laugh to think of the internet all contained within a little box. In fact, the product my husband bought was actually called, “Internet In A Box.”

How far we’ve come! Now our kids grow up with access to the internet and other technology at an early age. One colleague actually told me that his kids don’t have crayons, they color on the computer!

What’s An Echo Boomer?

The Echo Boomer generation that started with their internet in a box has bought into the technological revolution hook, line and sinker. They are the largest generation of young people since the ’60s. And they are beginning to come of age. They’re called “echo boomers” because they’re the children and demographic echo of their parents, the baby boomers.

Born between 1982 and 1995, there are nearly 80 million of them, and they’re already having a huge impact on entire segments of the economy. And as the population ages, they will be become the next dominant generation.

Keeping Up With The Dominant Force

That means the shift we are seeing in the adoption of more and more computerized processes within the workplace is going to continue. The up and coming generation practically has keyboards permanently fused to their fingers. Everything is done on some form of a computer. It’s the way they thrive so that is the direction that companies must go in to succeed with the new labor force of echo boomers.

What Does That Mean For The Rest of Us?

So if the world is focusing more and more on computer technology within the workplace we all need to step up and get with the program.

We’ve done it before!

The boomers have whole heartedly adopted the notion that computers can and do make our lives and the tasks we perform more efficient. Heck, the forefather of the technical revolution, Bill Gates, is a boomer. But it needs to go a step further now.

While we’ve accepted that computers are a necessary part of our lives there are still many businesses living in a paper filled world. These paper based practices need to be replaced by technology. As more and more of the labor force is taken over by the echo boomers computerization will not just be a suggestion, it will be a requirement to maintain an efficient business as this generation functions best in a digital world.

Web Conferencing: A Vital Tool For Most Small Businesses

Are you a small business proprietor considering whether to implement web conferencing solutions in your line of work? Then consider this: a study released in 2006 has shown that small and mid-size companies consider web conferences more vital than in-person meetings for driving revenue and conducting business. The small businesses found that web conferences produced a more immediate impact on sales and marketing than traditional face-to-face meetings.

The study was conducted by Wainhouse Research and sponsored by Citrix Online, a leading provider of easy-to-use on-demand solutions for web conferencing, such as Citrix GoToMeeting and Citrix GoToWebinar. It included over 1,500 respondents, about 75% of whom worked at companies that had fewer than 500 employees.

According to Alan Greenberg, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research, “The majority of companies polled indicated they are increasing their use of Web conferencing, and are enjoying a high to very high return in value. Though companies of all sizes use Web conferencing to drive business processes, SMBs are much more aggressive in using online presentations and demonstrations to drive marketing and close sales by facilitating meetings with customers and prospects.”

The small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) reported that they used web conferencing to hold business meetings more often than any other method–more than in-person meetings or phone calls. For these SMBs, web conferencing was considered as the favored means for driving revenue and conducting business. According to the SMBs, they valued web conferencing for its benefits of efficiency and reach. Web conferencing allowed them the capacity to quickly scale sales and marketing, and to connect with international audiences on demand. In the survey of the respondents, a number of them emphasized that they considered web conferencing to be so vital to business that they found it impossible to conduct business-as-usual without the technology.

The study produced the following observations about what SMBs thought about web conferencing:

“Outbound” web conferencing solutions that involve customers and prospects were deemed as most important by SMBs.

75% of the SMBs stated that the ability to connect with more people and save travel costs and time are the main reasons to use web conferencing. 59% of the SMBs say that web conferencing allows for more productive meetings.

55% of SMBs said that in addition to the other ways that it is expected to improve their business, web conferencing lets them solve problems they could not solve before. 44% of large businesses echoed this response.

69% of all respondents, large and small, said that they use web conferencing to hold meetings that could not be held in any other way due to cost constraints, timing and other issues.

70 Percent of Local Business Owners Market on Facebook – Not!

On March 1, 2011, a popular public relations website posted an article based on previously published research, claiming “70 percent of local-business owners market on Facebook.” The headline was shocking, the content equally bold, and the dialog that followed typical of the hype surrounding social media.

Readers began commenting almost immediately. One visitor challenged the assertion, suggesting it should not have been cited without investigation, and the site’s publisher quickly defended the post with a series of anecdotes about an 80-year-old t-shirt merchant, a few local bars and a family diner. From a neighboring state, the CEO of a marketing firm saw the publisher’s tweet and countered with his disbelief. Many of his followers echoed his skepticism.

Within days, this relatively obscure article had been “tweeted” 99 times, “liked” 35 times and “inShared” 117 times, as social media devotees echoed the good news: Facebook is king. Meanwhile, skeptics retaliated with posts of their own. Such is the power of social media. But one has to wonder how many of the people who shared, responded to, or blindly retweeted this post took the time to read the original press release on which it was based, or followed the author’s embedded links to the survey data, posted two weeks earlier. I suspect if they had, there would have been less activity, as a careful review of the data reveals a very different picture.

It all comes down to sample bias – a term used to describe the use of a skewed or non-random group as representative of the larger universe. In the case of this study, researchers confined the sample space to members of “the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S.” The key word, here, is “social network.”

Local business owners who choose to join (and remain active in) social networks would obviously be a subset of the larger universe of local business owners, and a survey of that subset would not likely be representative of the universe. The sampling was further skewed by the method chosen to distribute the survey invitations: email. So, those who participated in the survey would have had to be members of the subset of the social network (subset) who are loyal enough to open and act on emails from the organization. It’s not hard to see why these social networkers might be more likely to practice social media marketing than would local business owners who don’t even belong to social networks, much less participate in their surveys.

Using statistics drawn from a biased subset of local business owners to represent all local business owners is no more justifiable than drawing conclusions on the national rate of alcohol consumption from a survey of bar patrons.

The practice is, however, entertaining. And the results lend themselves well to viral distribution by social media enthusiasts.

In the social media world, mistakes like this are self-perpetuating, simply because they feed the buzz. But who pays the price for feeding the buzz? Perhaps those at greatest risk are the “followers” who view reposts as endorsements. So, next time you come across a startling discovery – particularly one that just doesn’t make sense – consider doing your friends and followers a favor, with the delete key.