Do you still believe the digital revolution is the domain of cool young Gen-Y’s and upwardly mobile Gen-X’s? Do you still think your business is immune? Think again.
As I spend the Christmas break with my extended family I can’t help but notice how connected everyone now is. With ages from 5 to 68 filling the house, nobody here could be considered a Luddite.
My father flits between his MacBook, iPad and iPhone. He downloads his books and music, reads all his news online and buys golf gear, fishing gear, clothing and more online. The iPad is his favorite device.
Mum just received an iPad 2 and is doing puzzles and organizing photo galleries. She is also starting to shop more online.
My brother-in-law uses an iPad and Blackberry for working remotely and keeps up to date on international sport and surf conditions constantly.
My sister has a MacBook and iPhone in her armory and is quickly getting up to speed on the benefit of being connected.
There’s a 12 year old with his first iPhone who is using Instagram, Path and Skype whilst listening to music, playing games and taking pictures. The pressure for a Facebook account looms.
There’s a 9 year old who is making stop-motion movies on a MacBook and uploading them to YouTube. He also makes his own games on Sploder and manages his own Posterous websites in between playing Minecraft with his friends, listening to music on his iPod or playing assorted games on his Wii.
The two youngest kids, 8 and 6, have received a Nintendo DS for Christmas and know how to get online with them. They’re also Minecraft fans.
The digital revolution is no longer a generational thing, it’s all pervasive. The transfer of information, products and money is increasing online daily. Even your oldest, most loyal customers cannot be relied upon when planning for the future.
The question is: what is your organization doing to address this?
These are my paraphrased notes and observations from the presentation by Katherine Savitt at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on 17 November 2010.
Generation Z are those children and teenagers born between 1992-2010. In the USA they number 65 million. In first world countries they number 275 million, while worldwide there are 1.6 billion Gen-Z’s.
They are the first generation of digital natives, people who have grown up with the internet and connected devices. They are not amazed by the digital age, they take it for granted.
Gen Z represent the age of acquired attention deficit disorder. They are used to using multiple devices at once, and doing it effectively. In fact, neuroplasticity theory explains that, as we evolve with machines and multiple smart devices, we as humans are actually able to process much more with multitasking ability, despite what we always believed about the need to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Two years ago I explained “Why my kids will be the death of traditional media” whilst I watched my sons effortlessly move between their armoury of digital playthings.
Two years later and they are even more web savvy and connected. My eight year-old now blogs from his Posterous site, displaying the latest videos he shot on a Flip Camera, edited himself on iMovie and posted to YouTube. He creates his own video games using Sploder and embeds them into his blog, which in less than a month has attracted thousands of views.
His friends are also digital natives who all chat online after school and rarely watch free-to-air TV. They download music and apps to their iPods and never turn on the radio.
Which brings me to a new study by Habbo Hotel, the world’s largest virtual community for teens, into Generation Z and their expectations for the future digital economy. The survey of more than 49,000 Australian children aged 11-18 found that the majority (55%) of respondents believe that the digital world will make traditional printed books, newspapers and magazines extinct, whilst, only 38% disagree.
Here are the major findings: