The Next Tech Generations

Last weekend I gave a TEDx Talk at the TEDxKrungthep conference here in Thailand. The YouTube video should be out next week and I’ll post it here so you can all rip it apart and tell me how off the mark I am. 🙂 As I was preparing for the talk somewhere over Vietnam about 34,000 feet in the air, I started thinking about Marc Prensky’s Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants paper, and how it helps to define different generations. We do this as humans, define generations by the things around them. My generation for some reason got labeled Generation X. Based on social events happening before we were born. If we think of Digitla Natives and Digital Immigrants as generations I think it makes more sense. Digital Immigrant Generation: Born before 1977 Digital Natives Generation: Born After 1977 That is the date that Prensky uses in his paper based on when the personal computer first came out. I do think my experiences growing up were different than my parents based on this technological revolution that was the PC. Just like my parents growing up with a TV was a technological revolution to their parents that had a radio. Technology can define generations…I believe…and I do think it’s an interesting way to look at global generations. Why do 30 somethings still play a lot of video games? Because we grew up in a video game era. I had an Atari and the orignall Nintendo. I also grew up with VCRs and at one point had a corded remote (what were they thinking?). There are technologies that define a generation and I believe there are two other technological advances that have defined two other generations already. The Web Generation: The web generation are those born after 1991 who have always grown up with the World Wide Web. This is the generation that has always had and expected access to the Internet. To put this into prespective. Seniors in High School today where born in 1992 meaning that our schools are filled with students who never lived without the Internet. As a 9th grader told me the other day, “Music has always been free and downloadable.” This generation grew up with the web, they rely on the web for communication and have always written more e-mails than letters. TV commercials have always had a web site where you could find out more...

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"I'm not like my dad, I don't have a web site."

Robert Scoble started a Friendfeed discussion with the following: How generations change: my son, tonight, after seeing something new from Google told the team “I’m not like my dad, I don’t have a web site.” It’s a statement from a 15 year old that I think captures how this generation sees the web. It’s not a place of static webpages or information, but  rather a place to communicate, keep in touch, play, and create for your own. The discussion has some pretty good take aways. Making websites is time consuming and, in my opinion, not necessary if you simply need a place to publish to the web, talk with friends and get yourself out there. – Brandon Titus It is time consuming and no longer serves the needs for most of the Internet generation. Sure there are still webpages out there, but blogs or blog like sites are becoming the norm. I left my first comment on The Seattle Times website the other day. Think about that….a newspaper where you can interact with others reading the same article. This is nothing new of course as my dad does the same thing. Every morning during the summer harvest he starts every day at 4am at the local coffee shop. My dad and the rest of the “the boys” talk about the news, the neighborhood, politics, and their lives. We’ve always talked about what’s happening…now we can just do it from places like Bangkok, Thailand. It took me back to how I found my doctor. She’s #1 on Yelp but yet had never been there. The world is changing and it no longer is only about having a website. – Robert Scoble I would agree….today it’s about having a facebook page, it’s about having a Twitter account, it’s about having places that allows others to connect with you, find you, communicate with you. The static web is slowly fading away. Sounds like the teenager asked by Don Tapscott (“Wikinomics”) about why she was not using email to communicate with friends. Reply: “Hmm … email. That would be the sort of thing you’d use to send a thank you letter … to your friend’s … parents!” – John W Lewis What is e-mail used for? How is its use changing? Our generation (first web generation) cling to e-mail as our communication vehicle. We ask “What’s your e-mail address?” while this generation just...

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