Old School vs New School

The Jay Leno/ Conan O’Brian debate at NBC has inspired this post. Everywhere I turn, there seems to be a battle between old school vs. new school. The debate seems to be all-encompassing, from the new school merits of being connected and interacting online, to the old school merits of privacy rights. As Gen Yers, we mostly hail from the new school, but perhaps it’s time to be a little more old school.

Tension Between Old School vs. New School

Both the old school and new school groups are at fault here. As Gen Yers, we grew up with our cell phones, computers, You Tube and all the conveniences that those sites bring. Old schoolers grew up with landlines and now believe that sharing your whole life on your Facebook page is an invasion of privacy. Both sides have a point, but in a new decade, we need to bring both the old school and the new school together to create a model that allows tons of personal interaction with the utmost convenience for everyone.

The biggest problem between old school vs. new school is the lack of understanding of each other. We can’t see why they won’t just email us, and they just can’t understand why it looks as though we need a computer for everything. But, whether we like it or not, we are going to be working with people who are old school. They will be our bosses, and we need to not only understand where they come from, but take some of their pointers.

The world “ONLINE”

Growing up with AIM, email and gchat, we interact a lot less frequently in person. And when we try and take the relationships offline, they can sometimes feel a little more awkward. We are missing the human interaction that other generations experienced. I may know everything about you because of your Facebook, but that isn’t how it really works when you meet people. You learn things about people in baby steps. And you can come across as a little stalkerish if you know about everything someone has done in his or her life before you’ve actually met. Personal details are out there, but it is challenging to develop a successful and fulfilling personal relationship online.

Email, gchat and other social networking websites are incredibly helpful. You can get information quickly from many sources. It has improved the world’s communication and knowledge immensely. But it leaves a lot of room for miscommunication and information being misconstrued. You can’t hear someone’s tone via email, so words may take on different meaning for you than the sender intended.

The World “OFFLINE”

My biggest suggestion for Gen Yers is to take relationships offline. If you really want an internship, call your contact or HR manager when you are interested in a particular opening. It shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile and that you have top-notch communication skills. Cold calling takes courage and the people on the other end of the line know that. It is much more personal.

Take your relationship offline. If you have an online role model who you speak with regularly, ask if they would be willing to meet you for coffee. It is a great way to get to know someone better and build a stronger network.

This is also a great way to meet with professors. Email is great, but meeting in person can often take less time and allow the professional relationship to develop with greater clarity and understanding. Professors are willing to take the time if you make the effort you meet them in person.

Remember to be brave. Good luck!


Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to stay involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

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4 Responses to “Old School vs New School”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ola Rynge, AnissaW08, Heidi Seegers, Carol Christen, Bryan Cromlish and others. Bryan Cromlish said: SBB w/ Dan Schawbel: Old School vs New School: The Jay Leno/ Conan O’Brian debate at NBC has inspired this post. E… [...]

  2. Shannon, I like that part about New and Old learning from each other. I witnessed a confrontation at work last month about an employee who is required to travel throughout the state. He relies heavily on GPS and digital navigation systems to reach his destination. He feels that his boss is too “old school” for consistently stressing the importance of traditional map skills,
    I overheard the “boss” describing the need for such basic map skills in case the digital navigation system failed or in case the GPS data is incorrect. Perfect example of both “old” and “new” trains of thought clashing; yet, both sides can learn a great deal from the other. Great post!

    Thanks, Kevin

  3. Excellent reminder Shannon. As I am entering the “real world”, I am reminded that quality relationships truly have to be nurtured through online and offline connections. Networking is so much more than being Facebook friends.

  4. avatar Shannon says:

    Kevin – That is an amazing example! It is not even one that is really rooted in technology or communication. It truly shows the difference between Gen Y and other generations. Its important to understand the other generations, and it really can’t hurt to learn to read a map :) .

    Cassie – I love that perspective.It is so important to network both online and offline.

    Thanks for your comments! I love hearing what other Gen Yers have to say!

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