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Talk about My Generation
"It's a generation thing." I kept hearing this from bloggers at the Computers in Libraries conference last March, as they convinced themselves that only the young blog incessantly and that older attendees discounted their devotion to newer technologies, such as instant messaging and wikis. I'm still hearing it in various information professional venues, particularly recent graduates trying to find jobs in the library and information science profession. Put simply, I don't believe it. I don't think age has anything to do with adopting (and adapting to) new technologies, particularly when it's information professionals we're talking about.
Now I do agree that job hunting is a painful experience. Finding a job is difficult; finding a job you love is even more difficult. This is not, however, the first time period when jobs have been scarce in libraries and information departments. Those who received their graduate degrees in the mid-1970s also experienced a dearth of opportunities. That was the decade that saw the introduction of online databases and electronic information. Newly minted librarians proudly bragged of their cutting-edge online searching skills, frequently to potential employers who didn't understand the power of the online force.
Those newly minted librarians of the mid-1970s are 30 years older. Does that mean they've suddenly lost their passionate belief in new technologies? I don't think so. On the other hand, I'm not convinced that every young information professional today has a blog, prefers IM as a communication medium, adds folksonomies to data, or routinely contributes photos to Flickr. …