I've got some stuff going on that has me thinking about this distinction. I really don't like talk about generational differences and find most things people say about them to be unreasonable generalizations. That said, at least right now I'm feeling like there is an enormous gulf between people who take as a matter of course that, say, Old Navy would allow customers to post negative reviews of Old Navy products on Old Navy's website and people whom I don't think could comprehend something like that or how it could possibly be a good idea for Old Navy since obviously anything that is in public should have its message carefully controlled and optimized.
This is more than a generation gap (and indeed, I know young digital immigrants and older digital natives), though it is at times tempting to think of it as institutions being afraid to do something that will speak to young people because they are so afraid of offending old people. That's an oversimplification of the issues, though. I think the Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives fundamentally view information and the sharing of it differently, perhaps to the point that they are speaking different languages when they talk to each other about that topic.
And I don't know what to do about it. That video about social media that everyone's passing around has a few facts I find a little questionable, but the overall message is, I think, pretty inarguable.
This is something every institution is facing, but I think the challenges as far as UUism is concerned are specifically interesting because the contrast seems especially dramatic with UUs given that we talk a lot about freedom. For example, board members often like to be conservative about things like information, yet Digital Natives tend to view information, and lots of it, as crucial to the functioning of the Democratic principles that UUism preaches.
Do you see this issue as one your church is facing? How are y'all dealing with it? How should we approach it as a denomination? Will ignoring it be one more thing that convinces people my age and younger that UUism (or protestantism or Catholicism or Judaism) has nothing for them except RE?
Or is this a totally false dichotomy and am I worried over nothing? I would actually really love it if you could convince me that I'm wrong and that the transition will be smooth and this stuff is no big deal. But I don't think I am wrong.
who, obviously, gets that there will be sampling bias given her audience.
EDIT: A smart person I know read this and mentioned (on Facebook *swoon*) that there is a third category, the "Digital Babushka," who fears technology and doesn't care to learn it no matter how useful they are told it can be. She was too kind to directly say that I was effectively lumping the Babushkas in with the immigrants and judging the immigrants on the Babushkas, but I do think I did that and am rethinking where *that* line should be drawn. Suffice to say, I get that there are a lot of people of the "digital immigrant" generation who really do adapt to technology well, indeed, some of them may comment on Old Navy when they get a sweater they don't like and I had a "google race" with one of them last night.*
At the same time, theCSO works with a major publisher of peer reviewed academic journals and he sees a huge gulf between those journal editors who insist on paper publication of the journal no matter what and those who saw that paper publication was expensive, online journals can update and correct efficiently and everybody reads academic journal articles pretty much exclusively online anyway and simply made the change. I hope we as a faith, and as a culture, can be wise enough to see when taking a new opportunity is the reasonable thing to do and just go with it. I think it is harder for Digital Immigrants to put aside something, be it a paper journal or a press release, that is no longer the best option than it is for a Digital Native. But though I side with the Digital Natives and am one, if barely, simply by nature of when I was born**, I don't see the change as 100 percent positive in all circumstances and I can certainly see that Digital Immigrants have a crap job in that they are expected to keep the Natives and the Babuskas happy, a task that may be impossible. That said, I do ultimately side with the Natives in that this revolution is going to happen whether we want it to or not though, and I'd rather the institutions that I like ride the wave than get swept under to placate the Babuskas.
Obviously, this post and my opinions on the matter are works in progress.
*Where two people are talking and realize neither of them know something, so they race to see who can find the information by Googling from their cell phone first. My friends are a nerdy bunch.
**I do think I was born on third base, I don't think I hit a triple.