The facts behind “Those tech-savvy ‘Millenials'”

The editorial I analyzed was “Those tech-savvy ‘Millenials'” by Jim Rapoza from the Eweek news source.  The link to the pdf of the editorial is:

This editorial’s main argument is that “Managing IT workers born after 1980 takes the least work.” In other words, Millennials are more effective in the information technology industry than other generations.  The author supports this claim with a survey performed by Eweek’s sister publication, Baseline.  In this survey, Symantec and Applied Research-West interviewed workers from Generation X and the Millennial Generation, discovering that  Millenials are better with social networking and online collaboration systems.  This evidence should be considered with caution, however, because it was published by a sister publication of Eweek, and thus could be biased in favor of the author’s argument.  Although Symantec and Applied Research-West are third parties in the argument, both Baseline and Eweek could very easily have skewed the results to prove a point.

Another problem with this editorial is that the author makes an unsubstantiated assumption.  He says that the results of the survey suggest that “Millennials are a little bit more safety-conscious than their Generation X co-workers.”  In fact, the survey has nothing to do with security.  All the survey says is that Millennials are more likely to use unsupported applications on company systems.  If anything, the survey results refute the author’s claim.  The author even contradicts himself when he says that “all of this can be pretty worrisome. The last thing IT wants to see is lots of rogue applications installed on company systems or unsecured devices that can be easily used to take company data off-site. ”  The author’s contradictory statements in this instance weaken his argument.

Another weak point in this article is the author’s use of generalizations.  for instance, he says “we all have friends and co-workers who are as technologically incompetent as our parents and grandparents.”  The use of the word “all” and the assumption that parents and grandparents are bad with technology is not supported by evidence.  The author also says that “I’m pretty sure that if you surveyed tech-savvy Millennials, Gen-Xers and even baby boomers, there would be very little difference in their answers.”  This is another unsubstantiated assumption.  The author does not use evidence to support this, and the author simply presumes his view is true.

The only source this editorial uses to support its claims is he survey from Baseline.  Most of the assertions are either based on the survey or are the author’s assumptions.  Although this commentary clearly fits the definition of an “editorial” in that it is an opinion piece, it could have benefited from more reliable evidence.

One of the strengths of this editorial is the author’s attempt to relate to the audience by mentioning widely-held viewpoints about daily life.  For example, at the beginning of the editorial, he talks about how being complimented on maturity in early age can become an insult at older ages, as older people like being told that they look younger than their age.  Although this statement is a generalization, it allows the audience to relate to the issue.iu

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