Depending on your generation you may fit into either one of those categories as far as using the Internet and Social Media. Digital natives are just that. They are Generation Z, those people born after 2001 and know nothing other than smartphones and tablets. At school they may work on laptops and at home they may play educational games on their tablet and have a phone so they can let mom know that they arrived home safely. They have never known a world without a computer or a smartphone. The economy loves digital natives because they spend (or their parents do) over $200 billion every year.
Generation Y or the Millennials also fit into the digital natives category because they’ve grown up with computers too. They are digitally literate spending a lot of time on social media. Google was born in their generation. According to the Pew Research Center, 100% of Millennials own a cellphone and 94% of those are smartphones. Also, they make up 58% of mobile shoppers and this year they will have more spending power than Baby Boomers. That’s a lot of online shopping!
Digital Immigrants are everyone else – Generation X, the Baby Boomers and those born before 1945. Some of the older ones have come into the technology world kicking and screaming but have eventually come to the conclusion that they at least need to have a cell phone so they can Snapchat with their grandchildren. To the younger Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, it seems to be a natural progression from playing Pac Man at the local arcade to playing Words with Friends on their cellphone. They also understand that there is more computing power in a cellphone than the room sized IBM computers of the 1960s.
Some digital immigrants have come to rely on the digital natives to solve issues with technology such as installing the right apps on their cellphone to programming the TV remote control. It’s the digital natives that will take further the things of the future that we’re working on now; driver-less cars, AI robotics, and more. They will take us beyond laptops and cellphones.
No matter what generation you fit into, you cannot get by in today’s world without embracing technology in one form or another!