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Sunday, October 19, 2008

How can Digital Natives develop channels for Digital Immigrants?


Dr. Gary Small is a professor at UCLA. His most recent bit of research found that when Web-savvy older adults surf the Internet, it can trigger key parts in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. In short, the findings indicate that searching the Web may help stimulate and possibly improve brain function.

What fantastic news, I can now justify my addiction to the Web is good for my brain.

If you look at this TV interview you will hear him discuss his research and in particular the pros and cons of being a "Digital Native" compared to a "Digital Immigrant". The difference between these creatures is the first were raised in the digital world compared to those who moved, in some cases dragged, into it.

I have always thought this distinction to be over-done, since my generation invented the digital world, but his words made me reconsider this view. I might have been one of the first Web and e-mail users but that is very different to the total digital immersion of today's young people.

The important issue for marketers is that the digital channels are created by Natives and increasingly consumed by Immigrants. Is this the smartest thing to do? Is it possible for Native to think like an Immigrant and vice-versa? Dick Stroud

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