A Digital Immigrant is a name coined by Marc Prensky in his book Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants published in 2001. He describes a Digital Immigrant as a person who was born before the onset of digital technology (in the late 1960′s) but who became proficient in it in later life as opposed to the Digital Natives that have grown up with technology and ‘techno-speak’.
Now, if truth be told, I come from an age when there were no such things as computers and mobile phones. In fact, I even remember the coin-operated telephone boxes that you would find on most street corners. You spoke to a telephone operator and pressed either the A or B buttons depending on whether they could connect you or not (look them up on Google if you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about). Whatever, it seems a really complicated system by today’s standards.
Having got into computing in the early-90′s, becoming an IT Manager and then a Consultant I suppose I am a true Digital Immigrant. You would think, then, that I would embrace the latest technology as soon as it appeared on the market but you would be mistaken. I view the ‘bleeding edge’ of technology with a great deal of wariness and scepticism because there are so many new products and developments appearing, almost on a daily basis, it is impossible to keep up to date with it all.
I am quite happy to leave it to the Digital Natives to push the boundaries of technology and I believe the time to adopt it into the mainstream is when it is tried, tested and fully understood.
My advice to clients has always been to wait and see how a product develops before jumping in to whatever it may be unless, of course, there is a business need for the change. I would suggest, you also take up this business methodology if you haven’t already done so.
So, am I happy being a Digital Immigrant … I should say so.