Don't stop the digital transformation – the next step is narrowcast

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Written by Armin Hopp on 4 August 2016

The Digital Natives are not checking Facebook. They are not checking Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter. That’s according to academic Felicity Duncan, associate professor at Cabrini College in the US. Duncan argues that public social media such as Facebook and Twitter is of limited appeal to young people.

Increasingly Millennials prefer private, so-called narrowcast platforms such as Messenger or Snapchat. While they may have a Facebook account, they are making much less use of it.

Duncan highlights that in a study published in August last year, the Pew Research Center reported that 49 per cent of smartphone owners between 18 and 29 use messaging Apps like Kik, WhatsApp, or iMessage, and 41 per cent use apps that automatically delete sent messages, like Snapchat.

According to another Pew study, only 37 per cent of people in that age range use Pinterest, only 22 per cent use LinkedIn, and only 32 per cent use Twitter.

The reasons for this are many and varied, ranging from the appeal of the ephemeral nature of images that are here today, gone in 10 seconds, to the fact that young people are waking up to the fact that their social media posts are potentially viewable by university admissions departments and future employers.

However, the issue for organisations is that many have very recently unveiled shiny new social media-style platforms for collaboration and learning and development designed in part to appeal to Millennials, only to find that the Millennials have shifted allegiance to a different kind of communication.

Keeping ahead of the curve

Of course, digital transformation should never be a one-off exercise. The transformation part should be ongoing and responsive and just as social media has evolved, so corporate learning and collaboration platforms should evolve too. Here are three steps you can take to ensure that your learning and development platform is keeping pace with real-world digital transformation:

  1. Respond to Millennials’ preference for instant narrowcast communication, from IM to Instagram, by offering some form of ‘live’ chat, enabling people to get answers to questions they have at the point of need – when they are actually undertaking the training module.


  1. Many of the latest digital platforms are highly image-intensive and people are increasingly communicating through images – from graphics to videos, emojis to vines – rather than traditional text. Training professionals can tap into this and ensure that training delivery is correspondingly visual. Many people are visual learners and it looks likely that this category of learners will only grow as people shift towards image-based communications. There is strong evidence that visual learning is effective even when it comes to verbal and text-based skills such as language acquisition.


  1. Revisit your blended learning offer regularly, supplementing it with the latest technologies and preferred means of communication. Learning provision combining formal learning, coaching mentoring and on-the-job support continues to be the most effective. Make sure that real-life human communication continues to be part of that mix, especially when it comes to language and communications learning and development.

Speexx has added an instant coaching live chat box to our learning platform – accessible from desktop and mobile devices, of course – to satisfy those learners that want rapid responses to questions.

We have already found that the younger demographic is using that function significantly more than the older generation. If organisations are to keep ahead of the curve, digital transformation must be a continuous process that reflects the preferred modes of communication of all employees.

About the author 
Armin Hopp is the Founder and President of Speexx