Long before the first personal computer ever saw the light of day, visionaries dreamed of a way of exchanging information at the global level. However, the Internet’s development remained locked away for decades within military compounds and behind the walls of academia.
Today, though, we carry its portals in our pockets and purses. We turn to the Internet for instant entertainment wherever we may be. Meanwhile, we take for granted its power to run our businesses, connect our world, and shape our very lives.
Now, however, the Internet itself is undergoing a great transformation. These changes are set in motion by a new force, the urgent and expectations and demands of the millennial generation.
Who Are Millennials and How Do They Use the Internet?
The Pew Research Center defines as a millennial anyone born between 1981 and 1996. They are basically the first digital generation, and technology is embedded in their lives. Their gadgets and devices have become extensions of their bodies.
Millennials’ lifestyles and the pace at which they live significantly contribute to the pace at which the world is changing. Moreover, their exceptional life experiences have revolutionized not the worlds of learning and work.
For example, millennials look for diverse ways of learning, mostly online. And they reject old-fashioned learning and development strategies that worked for earlier generations. They have further demands of the Internet, too, including:
New Ways of Working
Walk into almost any startup today, and you’ll immediately notice big changes in the way people are working as compared with workplaces of only a few years ago. For instance, the crew will probably be working on their own devices instead of using company-issued equipment. Further, easy access to a lightning fast Internet connection is something everyone on staff uniformly expects.
Additionally, millennials not only expect but demand work-life balance. Many employers, as a result, now provide easy access to child care as well as flexible and remote working arrangements. Other perks might include on-site cafeterias, casual dress codes, and Friday breakfasts provided by the company.
Millennials also expect to have multiple employers throughout their careers. Therefore, they consider each job they hold to be yet another addition to their ever-growing resumes.
New Ways of Learning
Generally speaking, people in the millennial generation think of themselves lifelong learners. Moreover, most of that learning will take place on the Internet. They appreciate easy access to e-learning, and employers benefit when they provide it. Additionally, millennials are on the lookout for innovative educational domains.
Many millennials prefer to learn on their own. This is one of the big reasons why online learning works for them. Learning at their own pace, they turn to micro-learning as a way of grasping quickly evolving concepts. In short, when it comes to education, members of this generation use the Internet as their own personal learning tool.
For example, the number of students taking online courses has risen to 5.8 million nationwide, and this trend is growing. Moreover, 25% of these students are pursuing higher education. These students turn to companies such as Mediacom Internet to help them further their learning. Notably, they are no longer content to passively listen to droning lectures in massive academic theaters.
Both at work and as lifelong learners, millennials expect and appreciate constructive criticism and guidance. This does not mean they follow all the advice they hear. However, they will give extra effort when they are convinced of the worth of their work.
Life at Blazing Fast Speed
Although it’s popular to think of these young people as the “instant gratification generation,” this is not necessarily the case. We must remember that this generation has come to expect life to happen at blazing fast speed. What appears to be instant to older generations is merely the way life happens to millennials.
This is because millennials are continuously connected to their world through smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Thanks to the Internet, they live in a state of hyper-connectivity. Multitasking comes naturally to them. This has prepared them for quick decision-making and rapid changes in direction.
This generation wants—and needs—ongoing training. They expect this from their employers, and they expect it of themselves. This is because information changes rapidly around them, and they know they must stay abreast and continuously work to sharpen their skills.
Fortunately, these expectations benefit business owners as well as the individuals who work for them. It’s worth noting that millennials flock to employers who are willing to pay for at least some of their ongoing training.
In return, the companies they work for are rewarded with an upbeat, satisfied staff who continually strive to enhance their own growth. This cannot help but lead to improvement at the organizational level.
It’s up to Us to Use the Internet Wisely
Thanks to the expectations of the millenial generation, the tools of the Internet are becoming more broadly accessible to billions of people around the world. We carry those tools in our pockets, and it’s up to us to use them to build on our knowledge and to enhance our lives at work and at home.