Digitial Natives — Is Your Google Tattoo Showing

Originally uploaded by lowereastside

Last week I gave a lecture to Dennis Price’s MBA class on social media. It was great fun (for me), and I hope, beneficial for the students. One of the questions that kept coming up was "why do you blog" — or more precisely, what is the value model that drives/informs my blogging.

My standard response is this — blogging provides me with a disciplined approach to creativity, innovation and writing. This blog is a scrapbook of my ideas that I use to map and document my thinking, often returning to an idea months later. This makes my blog, for me at least, a veritable feast of content and concepts — though sometimes the connections between ideas and actions, between strategies and activations are less than clear. Often this is because I am wanting to provoke potential methods of activation, not constrain them.

Often an idea will come upon me unexpectedly. In this situation, I normally login to the blog and type up a one line or one paragraph entry. If there is a link I will include it. Then I publish this as a draft. Later, when I have more time, I return to the draft to think it through and provide some context.

One such draft that I have been meaning to return to is this one. It is on the concept of digital natives, and in particular, on the podcast between two very clever social media thinkers and commentators — Anna Farmery and Paull Young. And while I admit that there are problems with the terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant", they do provide a starting reference to form a conversation as you will notice in Show #136 of Anna’s The Engaging Brand podcast.

I won’t spoil the podcast for you, but there are some excellent points that Paull and Anna make, including:

  • The identity of digital natives is in flux (as it is for all of us in our early 20s) — and as such it is not yet aligned with our profession. This means there is a focus on the way that "work" and "life" co-mingle
  • One of THE most important aspects of job choice is the opportunity to work with friends (or to make friends)
  • This brings a special focus on the alignment of PERSONAL values and BUSINESS values. For businesses wanting to attract and retain digital natives, this touches concepts such as corporate social responsibility, flexible working conditions and accelerated responsibility
  • Digital natives are impatient for outcomes. They are caught between wanting to overcome barriers to action (short term achievement) and achieving longer term beneficial change in the workplace and the world.

There are many other great points raised through the podcast, so it is well worth a listen (or you could simply subscribe to Anna’s iTunes store). Paull mentioned that the digital natives are the first generation to be born with a Google Tattoo (he attributes this to Geoff Livingston). Think about that from a brand point of view. Listen to the podcast. How is understanding that level of commitment going to impact your hiring practices (it should), how will it change your search for talent (it will) and why will this transform the marketplace for your products and services (it already has)?

Remember, if the digital natives have a Google Tattoo showing, then the digital immigrant also displays the marks of their history. How are your markings influencing your future strategies and visions? Perhaps it is time to recast our ideas and approaches.

2 thoughts on “Digitial Natives — Is Your Google Tattoo Showing

  1. I loved this interview – Paull is so enthusiastic. I think it is a must if people see this latest generation as lazy and want everything delivered to them – something I hear often. Paull shows a desire, a passion for understanding and even creating a better world. I think the key for me was the importance of friendship and the need to be stretched at work….loved it and hope to see him in New York in April!

  2. Anna … I agree! Paull’s enthusiasm and insight is brilliant. Now we just need to get him to Blogger Social — afterall he is in NYC and has NO excuse 😉

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