Wired And Wherefores

When it comes to living in today’s Information Age, I’ll admit to being a bit of an old-timer. While I do have a smart phone, I still tend to use it primarily to make phone calls and send text messages. Rarely do I surf the Web or update my Facebook status from the road, as many of my younger co-workers tend to do.

But it’s clear I have to change my ways. Perpetually being wired is becoming the norm, particularly as the latest named generation, Generation Y, becomes more of a force in the global and agricultural marketplaces.

Last week, I attended the annual Mid America CropLife Association meeting in West Des Moines, IA. On the first day of the event, much of the topic of conversation dealt with Generation Y (those individuals born between 1978 and 1995). I didn’t realize just how large this group is – more than 76 million of the Americans population fall within this range. My generation, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), holds only a 1 million population edge at 77 million.

And Yers are wired. According to Steve Drake, owner of marketing company Drake & Co., Generation Y members love being tied into everything, and have spread this message to the rest of the globe. Because of this influence, people today now spend an average of seven hours per day using social networking sites such as Facebook. While there are 1.2 billion computer users worldwide, there are 3.5 billion cell phone users. Furthermore, cell phones are always there. According to Drake, 60% of the U.S. population is never more than one yard from their cell phones at any time during the average day.

I remember when faxes first appeared. I was impressed I could exchange hard copy information with industry contacts in hours instead of days. Today, this same data in electronic form takes seconds to share.

At this point, it’s too early to accurately predict what the future might hold with Generation Y leading the charge. But it most likely will involve instant communication and perpetual access in ways we can scarcely imagine. Are you ready for this brave new world?

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