The Digital Generational Divides

A little while back I was flying from Seattle to Atlanta. On the plane was a tour group of elderly vacationers who had been traveling for two weeks and were anxious to get home. Unfortunately, home was still another connection away to Shreveport, LA. As luck would have it our flight was late arriving and their connection very tight.
As we were further delayed on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up, these vacationers started getting more and more frustrated. In an effort to help them, I looked up on my smartphone their connecting flight status and informed them of their gate number as well as the boarding status. They were very appreciative and told me that they didn’t have a smartphone themselves.
I’m not a “digital native” myself. Nonetheless, there is a pretty big divide between someone like myself and those good folks in terms of our mobile connectivity and how that affects our daily lives. Without thinking about it, I’ve evolved much of my daily life around my mobile device. I never ask for directions anymore since I have a GPS system. I shop for clothing, gadgets and even groceries from my phone. I check up on my friends on the Facebook app. I read all the news from my phone and since I travel so much I even watch a lot of video content from Netflix in my hotel room. I do all these things without a second thought. Yet, the divide between some like myself and a “digital native” is also vast. The children growing up today think completely differently than I do. They expect all screens to be interactive. The advancement of wearable technologies will be swift and keyboards could be obsolete in the next couple of decades. The experiences that these young people expect will be difficult for anyone in my generation to understand.
The world is changing faster than ever. The gaps between the generations will become greater and greater. Are we ready for the cultural upheaval that is about to take place?