Lynette has more clever thinking bouncing around Flickr … and I was drawn first of all to this one featuring Rupert Murdoch, but then found this other that captured my imagination a little more ruthlessly. The two quotes are conceptually related, and Lynette nails it with the explanation:
There used to be all this talk of the “digital divide” and it was between the haves & the have-nots in terms of what they could afford. But I think there is an even bigger gulf in mindset between the generations. It’s the difference between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”.
Even those of us who are immersed or engaged with the Interweb on a daily basis are only first wave immigrants. We walk around with our online passports claiming early adopter status for Amazon, Yahoo, Google et al; we write blogs, MySpace pages and update our LinkedIn profiles. We think we have seen it all and know where it will go.
But the very fact that we know the NAMES of these devices and sites tells us that we are wrong — because our tired old twentieth century brains are built for obsolescence. The WAYS of thinking we have wired into our brains through the mishmash of culture, genetics and repeat patterning have ensured both our success and our future failure. Sure, we have been able to smash through barriers to innovation in the business and political worlds while opening new markets; we have seen the opening of China, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the death (but not trial) of Pinochet, the end of Apartheid … we had many of the right thinkers and participants just at the right time. But then, humankind always has done — we are always "of our time".
And this is precisely why people over 30 have a degree of difficulty grasping the fundamentals of digital identities — because, dear (old) friends, our time is past and passing. We are not of the present because our victories are already in the past. There may, of course, be other successes — perhaps grander than those of web 1.0 still due to us, and we may all be able to still have the times of our lives — but innovation for us now must focus around the application of knowledge and learning — even if that knowledge and learning points back to the foundations of postmodernism.
The fragmented postmodern identity that we have known and loved in its forlorn, empowered and schizophrenic manifestations is slowly, but surely, ceding its energy to the coming generation. Many will not mourn its passing while others will insist on its primacy — citing the role of history, the importance of "this" or "that" and the continual reassertion of the dominant paradigm.
Me? I think there may just be something in the Nintendo Brain Game … and opt for continuous learning. The sheer fact that I tried to iignore blogging, social media and Web 2.0 for years rings warning bells for me — but I am not yet ready to give in. They used to say that life begins at 40 … and while that may be uncomfortably close, I could easily have a Second Life who is 20. And while I may be virtually young again, I doubt I will again share in the reckless intelligence that made my 20s so much fun.