Sometimes identified as Generation F, the Facebook generation is a title used to identify those who are growing up in a world where the use of online social networking is common. The use of online networking sites such as Facebook are seen as forces that will significantly alter the way people develop personal and work related networks. As a result, the basic philosophy for communicating with others will be very different from the way that baby boomers or children of the Generation X or Generation Y era connect with other people.
In terms of creating a social network, the Facebook generation is likely to see the melding of online friends with friends in the local area as a natural part of developing a well-rounded circle of acquaintances. The online social network may or may not overlap with the local group of friends, but it will be considered just as important in terms of encouragement, support, and the exchange of knowledge. Tools built into sites such as Facebook allow users to convey emotions, share data, and interact in ways that are much more efficient than earlier online efforts. With visual, verbal, and oral capabilities now common on these sites, the interaction is very similar to a face-to-face conversation.
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Over time, the impact of the Facebook generation is anticipated to change the way that corporations think in terms of productivity and efficiency. For example, online networking allows ideas to be considered among peers with greater speed, making the merits or drawbacks of a given approach readily recognizable. This is in contrast to traditional methods that may require more time to fully evaluate an idea through field testing, opinion polls, and other commonly employed tools.
The Facebook generation is also more at home with working independently. This may mean that the trend of people telecommuting for work rather than assembling at a single physical location may become the norm rather than the exception. At the same time, the networking capability may also change the way people approach the workday. Rather than devoting a solid block of eight hours to work efforts, short periods devoted to work tasks may take place over much of the day and into the evening, based on the tasks that must be completed on any given day.
As the Facebook generation comes of age, employers may find the need to adjust their procedures in order to accommodate the different mindset of Generation F in order to remain competitive in their markets. Even educational institutions may find that traditional methods are no longer effective and rely on newer approaches to the instruction process that incorporate the elements inherent in today’s online social networking. It is important to note, however, that along with the development of new methods, there will also be the need to create new ways to monitor activity, evaluate efficiency, and measure accountability in the online work environment.