There was a huge values gap between my generation and those that came before. It was reflected in the sexual revolution, feminism, civil rights, and especially the Vietnam War protests.
It got quite noisy, kind of like Occupy Wall Street on steroids (or, more appropriately for the times, amphetamines).
A similar gap is opening, albeit more quietly, between those of us over 30 and our children and grandchildren.
Anyone born after 1980 -- today's 32 year-olds and younger -- was born into a digital world. They have never known life without personal computers, cell phones, email, texting, web sites, or on-demand media.
They are more tightly connected to each other –more than eight out of ten send text, email or instant messages; more than half use social networks of some kind.
They are natural multi-taskers and expect everything to happen quickly. The meritocracy and openness of the Internet made them very impatient with hierarchy and information hoarding.
Most of them lived through the dot.com, stock market and housing booms, as well as the busts. They grew up adapting to innovation and change. They don’t draw a sharp line between work and the rest of their life. They want to enjoy both.
But they don't live in a world of linear entertainment and information. They watch less TV than previous generations, go to fewer movies. The news they consume is tailored to their interests and arrives through social media or the web. And what scripted entertainment they do watch is much more likely to reach them on-demand than on a distributor's schedule. They’re media savvy and trust their friends more than ads or third parties.
The “born digital” generation is also more culturally diverse -- one out of three is Hispanic, African American, or Asian. They’re socially conscious and more aware of the world around them than previous generations. And they're more open to new social and moral standards, such as births out of wedlock, interracial and gay marriage, and even abortion under certain cirecumstances.
Anyone who isn't seriously considering the implications of these cultural changes for their brand, their company, or their community is in for a lot of trouble. As Dorothy told Toto, "We aren't in Kansas anymore."