I’m sure you’ll see why I have used these examples, so consider this. Has the web helped to improve upon our preconceptions or worsen them?
With such massive use of social media, we all now have the opportunity to preview the people we speak with before we meet. We can search what they look like and their opinions and by doing so that gives us a preconception about them. Of course having preconceptions is fine as long as they are just that, preconceptions, so we should be open and willing to change.
If you are, shall we say, a more ‘seasoned’ reader of this article then the chances are that you can look back to the days pre ‘dub,dub,dub’ (www.). If so you will recall those occasions when a stranger rang to make an appointment to see you. Quite often you wouldn’t have a clue about what they looked like until that first meeting. So your decision to invite them in, was based purely on what they said to you during that initial telephone call.
However, with the simplicity of being able to search the web for a person’s career history, details about their age, interests, their photo etc. I wonder if this ‘openness’ actually brings those preconceptions more to the foreground?
I travelled into London recently, all booted and suited (minus the tie I hasten to add) and I noticed this young man wearing very different clothes to me. Ripped jeans, basketball boots (laces untied), loose tee-shirt, shades and plenty of hair (I’m jealous already). He was chatting on his mobile about marketing strategies for a new product launch and he clearly knew his stuff. I pictured guys (and girls) like this chap working through the night at a hackathon (a process that helps companies focus on its problems, with the support of its employees), eating pizza and drinking caffeine-laden drinks until the early hours and then my thoughts turned not to him, but to me and I started to think about those preconceptions. Yes, no doubt we could sit down and chat together about marketing and basketball for quite a few hours (I use to play the game for nearly 20 years and still love it today). But it challenged me to consider more about what he said, than what he looked like, and it made me wonder how this young man, a part of ‘Generation Y’ and me, a baby boomer, would get on in one anothers worlds? Would my clients bother how I turned up for a meeting as long as I knew what I was talking about? I suspect most would have a laugh at a one-off, but regularly? Equally, how would I get on in his ‘world’ all booted and suited? Do I need to dig out those scruffy Nike Air’s before I venture into an office of industrious Generation Y’s or would that give them a reason for misguided preconceptions? You decide.
To find out more about hackathon’s click the link here http://bit.ly/SiB5o9 (you will need to register to read the full article).