Digital Immigrant?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

So I saw a presentation at the American Marketing Association put on by one of the Apple Engineers a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised that the content of the presentation was not product oriented but rather industry and market focused. I was also pleasantly surprised that an engineer was capable of a presentation like this. Francis Shepherd gets many kudos for pulling it off. He is a blogger and a tweeter so he communicates better than a lot of tech heads I know.

It was during this presentation that I learned that I was a “digital immigrant”. Apple apparently segments two fundamental groups: those of us born before 1980 and those of us born post 1980. Post 1980 you are considered a “digital native”. This must explain why it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to start a Prius. My wife (also an immigrant) needed coaching as well. My son and my daughter (both digital natives) just jumped in started the vehicle and took off. This pretty much stinks as I hate when they adapt better and faster than me. None the less it points out that there are considerable differences in the marketing approach to the two different groups. We learn differently and we understand differently. As much as I consider myself reasonably hip, I did not grow up with a computer in my room and therefore I am more technically challenged than my kids.

I hope this designation does not hinder my ability to blog and I know that as a “digital immigrant” I’ll have to work harder to understand all the marketing nuances thrust on us in the web revolution. I’ll have to put in longer hours to manage all the new marketing tools at my disposal but I am truly dedicated to that proposition. My company’s involvement in the Public Relations arena introduced us to some of these concepts early. My video experience gave me a leg up on some of the Social Media opportunities and Web 2.0. Even so, I will be forever “challenged” in the eyes of my teenager and her twenty something brothers. There is some satisfaction in knowing that they all still ask me for help when the printer is down.

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