I truly believe that age is relative to how you feel. Some people at 23 years of age feel ‘old’ while some people at age 73 feel ‘young’. I am constantly reminded of how old and how young I am through the advancement of digital media, communication and tools.
When I understand Twitter I feel young. When I don’t quite get “Call of Duty 4”, I feel old. Then again, I also feel like a girl with better things to do.
My latest feeling ‘old’ or ‘young’ moment happened the other day while reading one of the many emails Media Post sends me daily. This one featured a blog post titled “Engage: Kids 6-11 – At the Forefront of the Era of User Choice and Control”. Now this ongoing blog series is designed to keep me aware of how to engage youth, so I’m already knocking on ‘feelin old’s’ door, but not even one paragraph into the piece, I read something so powerful that I had to stop to write this. It says that today’s 6-11 year-olds can basically get their entertainment anyway they want – through television, video games, merchandise, etc. That is no earth shattering revelation, but then the post concludes by calling us (adults), digital immigrants, and them (kids), digital natives.
I have to admit I stopped reading – basically to write this and reflect on what this means (I did go back and read the entire article…I’m not an idiot). In some ways I’m mad to be seen as an ‘immigrant’ to the digital space, especially since I’m only 26. Computers did have green screens when I first saw them, but we had computer labs, we played Oregon Trail, heck we even had assignments to look up presidential candidate’s web pages to get their stances on the issues. Up until this moment I truly considered myself advanced since I ‘technically’ grew up on computers. But let’s face it – like all emerging technologies, the next version always has more then the previous. By definition I was meant to concede to the generation behind me, and behind them, and so on.
Then I remembered I left out one crucial piece, the ability to keep learning emerging technologies. Sure, a fifth grader can get Harry Potter through his/her computer and master even the most complex video games, and yes they can probably learn how to navigate and utilize these technologies far faster then I. But I actually have the license to drive to the theatre and see the movie…so there.
My point is getting old or staying young…digitally speaking, this is just continuing to learn. And since this is a blog about digital engagement, I’ll take it a step further and commend the brands making an effort to learn and emerge in new technologies. And to the brands that don’t…well you know what happens after you get too old…right?