Just before teaching a class this morning, a librarian told me of a conversation he had with a new hire fresh from college. As they wrapped up their discussion, the younger librarian asked the other one what his MySpace page was. This of course prompted a good laugh from the second man because he had never seriously considered opening a MySpace account.
How often do you suppose this scene plays out every day? One librarian had worked an entire career without needing an online social network. The new hire is emerging from a college environment where it’s unthinkable NOT to participate in a network.
There’s clearly a broad cultural range, but it’s not just a generational difference. Depending on your exposure or experience, sites like MySpace and Facebook are either foreign countries or hometowns. You can see them becoming pieces of exchange just as business cards, phone numbers, and email addresses have been. In the meantime, though, expect the differences.