Apr 9, 2009

Digital Kids = Digital Future

Adults of tomorrow, also known as my two boys.Over the past few days I have observed discussions on the value of new media tools and whether it makes sense for government to jump in. It's true that we are still struggling with Web 1.0. Some think we should get that right before moving on. But these discussions were about today. Not about tomorrow. 

Chris Brogan blogged on Envisioning Digital Kids. He said that the adults of tomorrow now live in a world where
  • The Web is always on.
  • The Web is mobile.
  • Google has always been around, and is the core source of search information.
  • Cell phones are the default phone.
  • Apple TV, Netflix, and the Web are where shows and movies come from.
  • iPods are where music comes from.
  • Everything is play-on-demand. Nothing is appointment-based.
  • Most all software is web-based.
  • We share pictures and movies with relatives always.
  • We never get lost (GPS).
  • We buy what we want (Amazon).
  • We learn things from our friends (news via social networks). --Read the entire post.
Yes, there are people who don't have broadband or even Internet. Yes, there are people who don't use email and prefer paper and stamps for communications. Yes, some folks want to pick up a phone and ask questions. And, yes, dot-gov is still working on getting Web 1.0 right.

But it will soon be too late to engage with the next group of adults. The digital natives in my house ALWAYS have more computing power and instant access to information in their hands (cellphones) than we could have imagined five years ago. Some thirteen year olds will be voting in the next presidential election. 

How do we make government a relevant information provider? a relevant employer? a relevant part of society for the adults of tomorrow? 

For starters government leaders and technologists need to look ahead and get out of the muck of current barriers and old ways of thinking. Take a look at Brogran's list above and think how your programs are relevant to tomorrow's adults.

Dot-gov needs to aim to an unknown point in the future and not shoot ourselves in our static foot. 


  1. Excellent points, I completely agree ... there's a significant generational difference in online behaviors between 28-and-under and 30+, and 20-and-under are once again very different. It's stuff we all need to be aware of, and particularly important for government.

    Don Tapscott's Grown up digital is great reading on this front.


  2. Thanks, Jon. It's critical that we don't put our heads in the sand. I mean they said that rock-n-roll had no staying power, and look how it has grown and morphed over the past FIFTY years.


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