Well so says Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn the premier site for business based social networking at the 2010 Davos meeting. In fact he is right, as most non-Gen Y’s were raised in an era of secrecy as what is yours should remain yours, as you are the King (Queen) of your castle and you need to build a moat around it to protect your property. This was thinking which has been programmed into our DNA since birth as one of the first words a Western baby learns is “mine”.
Is there something wrong with “mine”, in fact I don’t believe so as this is something which has made America great as “ownership” or possession can be a very powerful driver. As this is also key in our genetics as we seek to secure (own) a life partner, as what is marriage? Yes its nothing more than the “ownership” of another as you make a commitment to them and they to you (at least verbally) and we typically throw in a religious figure to enforce the concept in our minds.
Yet Gen-Y has been raised differently, and while we can wax as to the reason why, that is beyond the scope of this writing today as we are simply waining about old fogies false belief in the fact they own a measure of privacy and there is such a thing. As one lesson my father taught me early in life is that “life is NOT fair” and do mean very early.
As if I had to point to one of the most valuable father son moments, this would be it as it explained a lot of things as I was growing up. What you ask, if you grew up in the United States, in elementary school you might remember seeing those photographs of the starving children in Ethiopia? There are/were children just like you, yet (hopefully) you had food in your belly but they didn’t, why. Yes it’s because the world isn’t fair and yes you can attempt to apply all other sorts of economic theory, yet its simplest denominator is fairness.
Same goes in reverse too, as we all remember that rich kid or kids that seem to have it all, yet we didn’t right? Again the imbalance of “fairness” in the world taking place right before us as why didn’t we have those things? Well privacy is the same, as waxed here before the only reason we were afforded it in the past is the cost of breaching it was so high it voided the economic model. Yet today’s Web 2.0 has made “privacy” its own form of currency which has a higher value then real dollars. As true capitalism is the exchange of goods and services for value and nothing says that “value” is hard currency. In fact it can be information as the exchange of this in a manner which allows the later (exchange of goods and services for value) is in itself the act of commercial commerce and not the dollar (in that transaction) needs to change hands, as the “transaction” itself is the value.
This is the fact that Gen-Y realizes today and while X and prior miss out on, as they (Gen-Y) were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and we old fogies just don’t know it…