Another speaker at The Marketing Show today here in Dubai shared some interesting statistics showing little difference in take-up of mobile and social between "Gen Y" and other age groups. This confirmed my own feelings that, at least in the short term, age isn't the main differentiator when it comes to the web.
I believe that the biggest difference is between open and closed attitudes to life. If you are open to new experiences, open to chance encounters, and open to input from others, then the web is the best thing since sliced bread. If you are closed to the new and fear change and loss of control then it is your worst nightmare.
This "go with the flow" aspect of the web was touched on in an excellent talk by Lisa Szatsznajder from Twitter in which she talked about the shift from marketing "campaigns" to "moments". Companies need to be part of the Twitter echology, picking up on our conversations and "joining in" in appropriate ways that add value to the network. These moments are fleeting and unplanned so organisations need to become more willing to be opportunistic.
An appropriately serendipitous conversation with David Gurteen, who happened to be in town and which only came about because we had both chosen to be open with our current locations, continued this "opportunistic" theme. We agreed that over planning and being over directive just don't work in the distributed networks we are seeing emerging. The old US Marines saying came to mind yet again - "keeping moving, staying in touch, and heading for the high ground" as the best advice to thrive in the online world.