Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?

  • This post is written by Marketing Executive, Matthew White.

    It wasn’t like that in my day is something often said by the older generation to the new one.

    There is probably no greater example of 'it not being like that in my day' than the digital revolution that has taken place over the past 20 years - a revolution that has entwined digital technology such as the internet, mobile phones, video games and digital radio into our daily lives.

    A growing number of scholars, academics and visionaries have started to believe this latest digital generation is not only different from the last one on a behavioural and social level, but that it thinks and learns differently too.

    The new generation are widely known as ‘digital natives’ - a term coined by visionary Marc Prensky. Prensky claims that anybody born after the year 1980 has grown up so immersed in digital technology that it comes completely naturally to them.

    Prensky defines anybody born before 1980 as a ‘digital immigrant’. These immigrants have known life before digital technology and, while adjusting well to their new surroundings, never lose their ‘past accent’.

    But is it really that clear cut?

    Many scholars challenge the claim on the grounds of gender, social demography and the scope of accessibility of digital technology.

    They say that boys use digital technology more than girls; people from poorer backgrounds do not have the disposable income to use it; and arguably the most prominent catalyst for the digital revolution, the internet, is still not available in 10 million UK homes. Can the 10-year old socially disadvantaged girl without internet access still be defined as a ‘digital native’?

    The debate is broadened by questioning the age-groups. A child born in 1980 was 12 when the internet was invented, a teenager when mobile phones took off and 21 before broadband became widely available. This compared with a child born in 2008 who plays with ‘toy’ laptops (that are actually real laptops), toddler i-phone apps and who can now interact with the cartoons on the internet.

    Can both generations really have the same level of digital expertise?

    I was born in 1985 and from my own recollection did not grow up immersed in digital technology. This technology, however, undoubtedly now plays a very important role in my daily life, in fact, I cannot imagine life without it. Does this make me a digital immigrant or a digital native?

    Perhaps we should be questioning the very existence of the ‘digital natives’. Maybe we are all just immigrants constantly adjusting to the rapid pace of digital evolution.

    Do you see yourself as a digital native or a digital immigrant? More importantly, what does it all mean for marketers?

Related articles

  • Read More

    SharpSpring launches visual workflow builder to enhance lead generation and sales

    SharpSpring recently announced the launch of their Visual Workflow builder. The new feature intends to make the process for creating workflows easier and brings it in line with the likes of Pardot...

  • Read More

    Why can’t we make faster business decisions?

    Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, argues that the lengthy procrastination that often takes place in decision-making is ‘post self-justification’, because we actually make up our minds pretty...

  • Read More

    Marketing activity so bad it’s quite literally criminal

    A news article came out through the Bangkok Post (we found it through The Verge) last week about the arrest of three Chinese nationals. The trio had been paid over £10,000 a month to run a...

  • Read More

    Jason Dilworth joins The Marketing Eye to develop technical capability

    Financial services marketing agency, The Marketing Eye, has appointed Jason Dilworth to the new role of Technical Director in a move designed to expand and develop the company’s data-driven...

  • Read More

    A third of B2B marketers are tracking sales through social

    For an industry whose origins and continuing existence rely heavily on the accurate analysis of statistics, the insurance sector would do well to note the seismic shift taking place in modern...

  • Read More

    Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – 4 reasons to keep contacting the same prospect list

    Asking someone to buy your product or sign up to your service after only one mail-shot or email is unrealistic. We can’t expect that one email, no matter how carefully crafted, will be enough to...

  • Read More

    Promoting video content on social media

    So, your business has splashed out on a big, beautiful high quality piece of video content, you are going to want to stretch it as far as it will go, right? Then don’t do what everyone else does...

  • Read More

    Four Facebook ad campaigns you should be running to attract and retain investors

    With around one-fifth of the world’s population on Facebook, you would think generating brand awareness and leads from it would be a piece of cake. The reality is less straight forward. With a...

  • Read More

    6 quick wins when you first sign up to marketing automation

    Marketing automation systems are powerful, intelligent and the bedrock of many businesses' marketing strategies, but getting to learn and understand them takes time and dedication. Not becoming...

  • Read More

    7 characteristics of social media implementation in B2B marketing

    If you look for evidence of the potential benefits to B2B organisations of social media, you will see both lead generation, as well as brand reinforcement are being addressed to great advantage....

Take the first step

To find out more about how we can help you grow faster, please get in touch. We'd like to hear from you.  Or try our instant marketing healthcheck, it's free!

Quick Contact

Quick contact

Close

Contact us

T 01825 765617

E hello@themarketingeye.com

Our offices

Full details of our offices in London and Uckfield more

Request a call

Close