Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
– Albert Einstein
Today we all live in two worlds. One is the physical world and the other is the virtual world. The virtual world came into existence with advent of the digital technology. This has predominately happened in the last two decades. It is the internet and mobile technology which came into extensive usage in the last two decades i.e. from 1994 to social networking phenomena like Facebook just a decade back in 2004. People born and grow during this period are generally termed as Digital Natives. Evidently all the people before this period are branded as Digital Immigrants.
Digital Natives take to technology the way fish takes to water. They are networked with their social circle through Facebook to instant connect with Twitter to continuous chat with What’s Up. iPhone to iPad is there virtual playground. They get up and do their mental jog on the iPad by scanning through the e-newspaper to e-music. They say good morning to their near and dear ones through the What’s Up. They capture the day’s lovely moments and get it instantly uploaded into Instragram.
Digital Immigrants respond to technology the way person with water phobia is asked to plunge into the swimming pool. They all have been cherishing the physical feel of the newspaper in the morning to switching on the radio or the television to hear the world voice. It is the handset phone which had given the grip and the feel in communication. They have been using the pen-paper to capturing their thoughts and feeling. They have enjoyed the visit of the postman which brought enough smile with the envelope. They have captured the moments through the analog devices and had to patiently wait for the process to produce the picture.
In both the natives and immigrants there are two categories of people, one who avoids and one who adapts. It is not about the digital immigrant who is perceived to avoid or ignore the influx of technology. There are many digital natives who have entered into the seen it and done it syndrome. They are caught in the ‘fatigue factor’. The factor of anything excessive is exhaustive. They simply don’t enjoy the all-encompassing technology. They no more want their privacy to be peeped. They consciously want to ignore and avoid the excessive dependency on technology.
Today technology has become a new language. To effectively engage and interact with somebody, you need to know whether he/she is a digital native or a digital immigrant. As in the real world it is myth to state that all natives are better than immigrants. Similarly, in the virtual world immigrants are adapting to the newer technologies & trends much faster and better than natives.
We are living in the critical phase of the technology revolution. When we are young we absorb to new language easily than when we grow older. Perhaps this debate will be put to rest with the rapid convergence of both worlds.
The question remains. Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?
The discussion is open…