The Digital Demographic Revolution

ODE #0: THE DIGITAL DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION

What is it and why does it matter (briefly)?  The Digital Demographic Revolution says that the kids who grew up after the widespread adoption of the personal computer and the kids who grew up after the widespread availability of the Internet and the World Wide Web have a fundamentally different relationship with technology in general then those who are older. They are more comfortable with technology. It is much more so “in their blood”. They are not nearly as afraid of technology. We call them Digital Natives. There is also a group of older people in the population who are not nearly as afraid of technology as the rest. We call that small group Digital Immigrants.  In connection with the Change Function the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants are more apt to use technology to solve a “crisis” because they will experience a lower total perceived pain of adoption. We believe that the largest group of the population are Analogists. These people are much more uncomfortable with technology than the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.

So what? We expect that the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants will affect the social and business norms at an accelerating pace thus creating a peer pressure directed toward the Analogists. We expect an incredible migration of Analogists during the next 5-10 years. During that period the population will take on many of the attributes of the Digital Natives. The population as a whole will be able to adopt new technologies at an accelerating rate. The population will also adopt accelerated manifestations of other NODE #1 monumental shifts. The way the population as a whole exhibits the following shifts will accelerate dramatically: Addiction to Communication, The Free World, Extreme Personalization, Extreme Mobility, The Faster World, Addiction to Image/Video…

The Digital Demographic Revolution commands a NODE #1 designation because its impact resonates through so many of the other shifts as demographic shifts are apt to do.

Context: I have an 80-year-old uncle named Jerry. I have a 14-year-old nephew named Dylan. Let’s suppose each had precisely the same “crisis” for having all their music with them wherever they went. Suppose I got them together and gave them each an iPod in 2004. It’s new to both. They both understood their “crisis” and were excited that iPod was the answer! So I say: “OK… to get set up we will first transfer all music from all your CDs to the computer.” Dylan would runaway to get his CDs all excited while Uncle Jerry would just runaway overwhelmed by what it might take to transfer all this music!

Digital Natives and Analogists are different in so many ways. For starters, Digital Natives are far less afraid of swapping, sharing, stealing, storing, searching for, scanning in, creating, editing, losing, transferring, recording and manipulating…tah-dah…DATA! This is a critical abstract.

The good news is that when Analogists fully Immigrate to the Digital World this fear of Data is radically reduced and greater adoption can then occur of many many products and services and ideas. So in 2004, who do you think would more easily “get” the idea of bringing all your music (data) with him: Uncle Jerry or Dylan? Dylan. But once Uncle Jerry decides to fully engage in learning the iPod from start to finish his fear of DATA would drop and he would be a better candidate for other products and applications such as, for instance, a personal video recorder.