Sunday, February 01, 2009

Youth mentoring adults

As Don Tapscott suggests in Grown Up Digital, for perhaps the first time in history, youth knows more about something - social media and other technologies - than adults. So it could be quite valuable for youth to mentor adults, despite the issue that most adults do not perceive a need for this. Adults may start to think that they should hire a social media consultant for business purposes, e.g.; “How should I be using The Twitter for my product?” or “Oh, virtual worlds are for more than gaming? I could actually run my worldwide customer community groups at an in-world sim for about 300% lower cost?” but most adults have not yet appreciated the pervasive personal and professional impact that social media could have on their lives.

Mentoring 2.0
A more experiential concept and format of mentoring than it is traditionally conceived together with the conventional 1:1 conversations could be most effective. Traditionally, it would certainly be informative to hear youth’s views on all manner of personal, community and global concerns, and to learn from the way youth makes decisions; one example is contemporary youth having many more options and a deeper consideration of the trade-offs between options (e.g.; work on my Internet startup or my homework; stay working for a startup or go to college).

Experiential mentoring

The new mentoring’s interaction medium should be experience not dialogue.
For example, the venue could be a café setting with youth and adults and their laptops, mobile and other devices with Wi-Fi and refreshments. Everyone is just hanging out, not formally interacting, not in 1:1 match-ups but in small groups where everyone might feel more comfortable. Adults could see what tech is being used and how, and ask youth about it and try to understand it and install and try the apps on their machines and think about how they would apply it to their personal and professional contexts. The mentoring could be two-way, with both groups benefiting.

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