Generation Y doesn't like paternal delivery of user ed?

Subject: Generation Y doesn't like paternal delivery of user ed?
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Techwr-L List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 12:33:46 -0700

Is anyone around here old enough to remember when youmgsters were saying
"Don't trust anyone over 30?"

Cringely's blogging about the time it takes to broadly assimilate new
technology, and Lo! it is about 30 years, or one modern generation.

Techwr-l software doc writers have fooled around with the idea that we
no longer have to write for the low common denominator, because
computing is no longer new. From the cited blog, here's a slightly more
pointed statement of Generation Y's place in the scheme of things.

"These are kids who have never known life without personal computers and
cell phones. But far more important, there is emerging a class of
students whose PARENTS have never known life without personal computers
and cell phones."

Other blogs echo this or similar observations, e.g.,

"...IT departments that are unnecessarily rigid and focused more on
consolidating their own power than empowering employees will find
themselves the target of budget cuts and proposals to decentralize IT or
just merge it with business operations. That could especially be the
case when Gen Y starts moving into management."

I don't know about IT departments consolidating power, but I do recall
companies that tried to hold back the rising tide of demand on the job
for internet access, laptops and work-at-home days, personal email on
company machines--the sense of entitlement to these freedoms didn't take
a generation to become widespread, and it could have happened a lot
faster in some of those dreary top-down places of employment where
executives just didn't get it.

Anyway, the link to the Tech Republic blogger (Jason Hiner) above
suggests that IT departments that insist on security, compliance,
standardization, content filtering to improve productivity, and “that’s
just the way we do it” will be left behind. One of the remedies he
suggests is to "make user education a top priority and use a
peer-to-peer rather than paternal delivery."

I'm not sure what he's getting at when he contrasts peer-to peer with
paternal delivery. Have we already hit on this principle in any of the
technical communication threads here? What would be expected of us? Does
paternal refers to something like those internal classroom trainings
that some of us IT tech writers are often tasked with writing?


Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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