IM Experts in E&P

EIM Trends 1: ‘Digital natives’ shaping the way we use IM systems

Date: 18/5/2011

While looking at holiday photos on an LCD TV recently, we paused the slideshow to take a food break. We returned a little later to find a friend's two year old daughter trying to swipe the TV screen to make the pictures change. Tears and screaming ensued when nothing happened, and calm was restored only once an iPhone was produced and normal swiping could recommence.


And this is the crux of it. Young people are different. They are often taught to read, count and speak through digital devices long before they are introduced to a pen and paper. They are exposed to a variety of data formats through different media, and they are growing up to be totally at ease with this. When they enter the workforce, they will have different expectations to what they will be presented with in terms of the organisation's systems and tools. This process has already started, and one would not have to look far to find people using their own smart phones, tablets, and laptops to carry out their employers' business because they prefer to use newer, more advanced technology than their employers are able to provide.


The era of desk based web (let's call it Web 1.0) has moved on to the interconnected world of Web 2.0, where web based applications are interconnected through social networks. Add to that the latest generation of Web 3.0applications/hardware that are mobile and have location based functionality. While the technological leaps are huge, of equal significance is the culture that the take up of this progression is driving because it is, quite simply, changing people.


So what does this mean for organisations? It means that they are increasingly recruiting ‘digital natives', as opposed to most of us, who are ‘digital migrants'. While these convenient groupings are not universally accepted, the fact the younger people will have expectations of diverse, content rich, mobile content through novel interfaces when compared to older people is not in doubt.


At a recent conference in London, Tom Jenkins, the Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text, one of the world's leading content management software companies, touched on these trends and suggested that as a result of these structural shifts, there is even evidence of minor changes to the human brain - with younger brains showing an observably greater capacity to multi-task and be creative, accompanied by a somewhat reduced capacity to memorise facts and figures. Whatever the exact truth, in upcoming blogs, we will look at these trends, along with the opportunities and threats they present us with, using some of Tom Jenkins' predictions as a basis for our own thoughts.


Soumo Bose

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