In the last half of the 20th century in North America it was assumed that as an adult you had a driver’s licence and that you most likely owned or had access to a car. I know, I didn’t get my licence until I was 26 and that made me a very rare specimen indeed. The optimal way to get around our cities and especially our rural areas is by motor vehicle. Malls are being built that do not have any designated pedestrian or bicycle lanes. We still design as if everyone moves around by automobile.
Well it’s now the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the Web is over 15 years old and e-mail is much older than that. However, many in my generation (the baby boomers) are living as if the Internet is an interesting thing to have around or “surf” but not really essential, like a car is. I’ve noticed this especially with boomers working inside organizations. But things are changing and we see that most younger people own a mobile device and manage several networks on the Web – Facebook, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. For them, a car may be optional, but a mobile Web device is essential.
Understanding the Web today is like driving a car 25 years ago. You need it to get around, work and be social. It’s as important for individuals as it is for organizations. Think back a decade or two and imagine a business without a parking lot; today that’s getting a lot easier to imagine. The Web changes everything and Internet strategy can no longer be left to a few specialists to “do that Web thing”. We all need to get involved and learn by doing. You can’t become a driver without practice and the same goes for the Web. I would suggest that anyone who doesn’t have a learner’s Web permit had better get one soon. That’s especially true for my fellow baby boomers, many of whom are making the decisions at work.
Image by ndanger