In talking with lots of clients at Gartner’s Web Innovation Summit, held a couple of weeks ago in LA, the difference between digital natives and digital immigrants was reinforced. As a reminder, digital natives were born in the Internet era and are the folks that are out here blogging, tweeting, posting, and socially interacting on the Web, while digital immigrants were born prior to this era, and frequently don’t use Web 2.0 technologies or approaches.
We had lots of Web 2.0 sessions at the Summit, and in talking with clients at roundtables, 1-1’s and during happy hours, it became clear to me that some digital immigrants may never adapt to the Web 2.0 world. These guys know about this stuff, see their teenage children on the Web all the time, and frequently have tried it out, but in their own words, “just don’t get it”. They don’t see the value of broad participation, of communities, of crowdsourcing, and of extensive peer-to-peer interaction. At least they don’t see the value of these things as delivered via Web 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, social networks, RSS and tagging tools.
Unfortunately, if the folks that “don’t get it” are in decision making roles in their enterprise, adoption of new Web technologies and approaches may be delayed for years in those enterprises. Maybe they will “get it” eventually, but for some, I predict that they will retire before they do.
It’s too bad that this group won’t see this posting, but since they don’t believe in blogging, they won’t have an opportunity to refute my position.
How many digital immigrants will never “get it”? I don’t have a number in mind, but I’d love to come up with one. Any suggestions?
Labels: web 2.0