Two significant events occurred already in this new year that demonstrate that change is no longer just coming – IT’S HERE!! When the ball dropped in Times Square, the Baby Boomer Generation began a flood of Americans turning 65 – officially seniors. Goldman Sachs invested $450 million in Facebook – establishing 2011 as the year of “Social Networking”.
This is the year that those born in 1946 – Baby Boomers – begin turning 65. They become eligible for Medicare, full Social Security retirement benefits in 2012 (for those not already drawing their benefits), and all the rights and lower prices to which their advanced age entitle them.
For the next 18 years (the approximate time span of a generation), over 60 million individuals will continue to drain the government reserves, while Gen X and Gen Y try to fill them up with their income. The birth rate actually began to decline in 1958, but 12 years is too short for a generation, so 1964 is generally considered the end of the Baby Boom. The peak drain on the Social Security System will be between 2019 and 2022, those years of the highest sustained birth rate of the generation. (See CDC Data at Live Births, Birth Rates, and Fertility Rates, by Race: United States, 1909-2000.)
Many Boomers will continue to work and pay into the System for several more years, because when one (born between 1946 and 1954) achieves age 66 they are entitled to maximum SS retirement benefits and unlimited earned income. Nice way to accumulate a nest egg to enjoy retirement. (Those born between 1955 and 1960 work their way up to age 67 for full retirement benefits.)
Additionally Boomers will continue to run the majority of the United States government and business. The last three Presidents are/were Boomers, and most Fortune 500 corporate CEO’s are Boomers. The four generations in the workplace that Jason Dorsey describes will continue for another 20 years at least as Boomers continue to age.
According to the NY Times article from yesterday (Why Facebook Is Such a Crucial Friend for Goldman),
In investing $450 million in the social networking giant, Goldman has established itself as the leading candidate to win the lucrative and prestigious assignment of Facebook’s initial public offering, whenever that day comes. It also positions itself to reap millions of dollars in banking fees. Goldman has already begun the process of wooing its wealthy clients to invest alongside it in Facebook, forming an investment vehicle that seeks to raise as much $1.5 billion for the Internet company.
… an initial public offering of Facebook, [holds] billions of dollars of unlocked paper wealth realized by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 26-year-old chief, and his fellow executives. Goldman, as a lead Facebook investor, will most likely have a leg up in winning the assignment to manage that money, too.
The firm’s Facebook investment came together over the last month, according to a person involved in the deal who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. After the spike in trading in Facebook over the last several months — in a November auction, Facebook shares traded at a $56 billion valuation — Mr. Zuckerberg expressed an interest in raising money to legitimize the $50 billion valuation.
Mr. Zuckerberg felt that gaining the imprimatur of a major investor at such lofty levels would validate Facebook in the eyes of its Silicon Valley competitors with whom it is negotiating deals, this person said.
Suffice it to say that Facebook will continue to succeed.
As further evidence that 2011 is the year of Social Networking, Harrisburg University released the results from its “Black Out” study conducted last September.
During the week of September 13 -17, 2010, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology blocked access over its network to several popular social media sites including, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Additionally, access to all instant messaging services was blocked. The blackout affected all students, faculty and staff at the University. The intent of the social media blackout was to raise awareness about uses and/or abuses of social media.
An initial survey was completed on the first day of the blackout, and a follow-up survey was completed during the week following the blackout. In addition, multiple focus group sessions were conducted with students and faculty in the middle of the blackout week. These sessions were intended to gather richer, more detailed data than could be collected by survey instruments. Finally, individual emails and one-on-one conversations with students provided anecdotal and often humorous stories about their reactions to the blackout.
One-quarter of the students and 40% of the faculty and staff at Harrisburg University responded to the surveys. The survey revealed that the majority of students, faculty and staff are regular users of social media. In fact, many are heavy users of various social media outlets. Specifically, two-thirds of the sample reported using Facebook on a daily basis, while 10% said they use Twitter on a daily basis. Among Facebook users, 25% cited mainly “social” purposes, including contact with friends, as the primary reason for using the site. Students and staff also use social media for “entertainment.” In fact, 13% of student responders said they rely on Facebook to combat boredom between classes. Exactly half of student responses cited the use of YouTube regularly for “academic and social purposes.” Instant messaging is also used by a large segment of the student body, with 35% usage among this sample.
One question that is routinely debated is whether people can become addicted to social networking. The results from our survey suggest that this is possible. Specifically, it is remarkable to note that 40% of the student respondents spend between 11 and 20 hours a day using social media sites. One has to believe that this level of usage would likely interfere with school work and jobs. Further, it is somewhat disturbing to note that several faculty and staff reported spending more than 20 hours a day on social networking sites.
It can easily be argued that social networking is NOT a fad that will disappear any time soon. Which means, libraries should explore applications of social networking in their library services.
CHANGE IS HERE! ARE YOU READY?
PS: Happy New Year, and Thanks for coming back!