L P O’Neil

Digital Natives refers to those who always lived in an environment that included the web, online learning, blogs, wikis, google, social media, kindle, wave, digg, technorati and so forth.

People who arrived on the planet before the internet age are sometimes called Digital Immigrants. [Dilbert, for example, entered his workplace cube in 1989]. Actually, quite a few people in the workforce are Digital Immigrants. Some of us ‘old’ IT hands are tasked with persuading younger colleagues to use social media. But these characterizations really have little to do with age — it’s all about how comfortable the person is with IT.

Integration with the Digital Native population (born post-1984 and grew up with computer access) flows through online communities, knowledge management strategies, online learning, open source projects, leadership fora, and other flat-hierarchical systems. Online age may have nothing to do with chrono-age.

In earlier digital days, users shared information by list-serves and in gated online communities like The Well. Then browsers arrived in the early 1990’s –who remembers the run-up of Netscape’s IPO? Remember when the only e-mail options were Compuserve and AOL? Who recalls a world without Google?