Understanding Digital Natives

digital_native

The term “digital natives” refers to a group of individuals who were born in the age of digital technology. The term was coined by Marc Prensky in his work “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” published in 2001.

Digital Natives have never known a time when they couldn’t be constantly connected via the Internet or mobile phones.

General Characteristics

Digital natives are often described as people with short attention spans who often grow up too soon, are exposed to many adult ideas, and are apathetic to significant concerns facing society. Generally speaking, however, digital natives face many of the same issues other generations faced except that these issues are filtered through new media.

This presents both challenges and opportunities for growth. Influencers must learn to interact and engage within these realms.

Digital Skill Levels

Contrary to popular belief, digital natives have many different skill levels when it comes to technology. Differences can often be attributed to education gaps and socioeconomic status. The idea of community also is a driving force in development of such skills.

Networking Skills

Many members of this group will acquire new skills due to their desire to connect with online and offline networks. Online spaces fluidly help facilitate such interaction. Digital natives understand that these networks can help them engage. They also understand the dangers of such communities and the nuances of various audiences.

Constantly Seeking New Tools & Content

They want tools that allow them to choose who they interact with and how. They tend to not be politically engaged in any arena, but they do understand that their voices can be heard in online platforms. They are interested in protecting rights, but they also want free content that allows greater exposure to new things.

In a nutshell…

When developing content for digital natives, it’s important to recognise their affinity to be engaged in a community; their preference for choices; and varying needs while also addressing concerns common to individuals in any other group.

Over to you…

Have you marketed to a digital native? share your experience…

email


Omar is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Disrupted Industries: How Online Banking Took the Banking Industry by Storm [SERIES] | Omar Kattan - September 22, 2011

    [...] knows?  I for one believe, that with time, it will become solely an online model serving digital native customers who probably never set foot in a brick and mortar [...]

  2. 5 Reasons Why I Won’t Share Your Content [TIPS] | Omar Kattan - December 11, 2011

    [...] with better perceived value- doesn’t?  Here’s a hint, think aquatic vertebrates. Most web users have the attention span of a goldfish (no disrespect to goldfish).  Here are 5 reasons why I [...]

  3. 7 NO BRAINERS for Using Infographics In Your Content Strategy | Omar Kattan - January 3, 2012

    [...] is exactly their priority most of the time. Everyone tells you the typical “Netizen” (digital native) is a lazy reader and you have to make it easier and more convenient for him to digest the data you [...]

  4. The Power of Story: History of Brands As Storytellers | Brand Stories - March 25, 2012

    [...] with the growth of the internet, a the rise of a new breed of consumers, content marketing and storytelling is starting to gain prominent attention. Today, about 25% of [...]

  5. Johnnie Walker: Taking ‘The Quest’ Narrative Online | Brand Stories - June 4, 2012

    [...] Today, while these ads still resonate, they do not necessarily appeal to a new generation of consumers (and future drinkers of JW)  The digital natives. [...]

  6. SEO Tips for Video Marketing - Sandstorm Digital - March 21, 2013

    [...] Age” audiences have short attention spans, particularly when it comes to branded content. Research shows they do [...]

  7. New Logo New Focus: The Content Marketing Agency - Sandstorm Digital - October 14, 2013

    [...] will continue to do what we do best; namely help brands connect with engage and empower a new age audience with attention spans now spread across the long tail of on and off-line media and  multiple [...]

Leave a Reply