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Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Digital Existence, Featured | 0 comments

Not all who wander in the Digital World are lost or need a map

Not all who wander in the Digital World are lost or need a map

Not all who wander in the Digital World are lost or need a map.

>> Ignorance is Bliss?

We spend a lot of time these days talking and arguing about the “Digital Natives” and how their expectations of the world are very different than people who were not born into our age of information abundance. We have seen study after study and article after article defining the future through their eyes.

Much hope is hung on their backs with regard to how we as a society will embrace technology and how their fearless foray into embracing and exposing their real selves through their digital selves will translate into a sort of “Trickle Down” Techno-nomics causing the rest of us to rise up and coast along in their wake reaping the spoils of there bravery and fishing the castoffs of their digital existence in a feeble attempt to keep up with them.

I am a firm believer that we are and will continue to learn from the way digital natives perceive and interact with the world both in their personal and professional lives, however, I there is a lot to be learned from a few other constituencies of digital dwellers who weren’t born into age where Google and Khan Academy create far more A students than Standardized Tests do.

Here is their story:

>>The Digital Dinosaurs

Digital Dinosaurs are a rare breed and each year as technology evolves, there are fewer and fewer left. They are in danger of becoming extinct and irrelevant in the Digital world, but are stubborn enough to continue to hang on and cause mild discomfort for the other cohabitants of the digital world.

Traits of a Digital Dinosaur

> Still carry a flip phone but only turns it on when they want to call someone.
> Have a 15″ CRT Monitor on their Compaq or Gateway Computer running Windows 98.
> Use IE6 or lower.
> Have an AOL or Yahoo email address.
> Think Facebook is for Highschool kids and have no use for that Tweeter thing.
> Spend a lot of time searching for 1-800-numbers online.
> Have a landline that does’t let you dial long distance because it’s a ripoff, but spend $40 a month on Calling Cards and $100 a month on stamps.
> Relies on younger family members for Tech Support, but it takes 15 minutes to get them to type” into a browser window.

What we can learn from the Digital Dinosaurs

Digital dinosaurs remain firmly rooted in a physical existence that has been consistent for longer than most of the other groups have lived. Their resistance to change ensure that we will live in a hybrid world that is designed to accommodate all levels of digital competency for the forceable future. (think more Bladerunner and less iRobot).

From their existence we can learn:

> Our Physical lives can exist without a digital presence.
> Sometimes the effort involved in an act is more meaningful when you take the time to do things personally rather than through your digital extension (More thank you cards and less Facebook Wall posts).
> A healthy respect awe for fear of technology allows you to filter your digital experience and consume at a pace that you are comfortable with.
> Knowledge gained through experience is the only true path to wisdom.
> Sometimes not having in answer, means you need to look for creative ways to deal with the question.
> Face time is greater than FaceTime.

>>The Digital Gypsies

Digital Gypsies can come from any age group, but most often were born sometime between the Nixon and Reagan administrations. (Digital natives, here is your embedded link for easy contextual translation or for a more immersive explanation go here ). Digital Gypsies are nomadic by nature and tend to move from digital experience to digital experience as the digital winds and tidal currents direct them.

Much like a hipster is drawn to $1 PBR nights at the local dive of the week.

Traits of a Digital Gypsies

> Constantly on their Phone / Laptop / Computer

> Invite you to join new sites / services every few weeks

> Was the first of your friends to: Have a MySpace account, Customize their profile  with gifs, Denounce profile customizations and gifs, Declare MySpace Dead and move to Facebook Path Instagram Facebook Google+ (quietly friending you on Facebook again after 2 weeks after they noisily proclaimed they were deleting their Facebook).

> Posts gif images to Google+ daily.

> Threatened to leave Instagram over their proposed TOS

> Still has daily foursquare Instagram posts to one of their 5 Twitter accounts even though they haven’t logged into there in over a year.

> Has 200+ apps loaded on their phone but only use 5 or 6.

> Cross posts the same link to every site they belong to with a reckless abandon (

> Texts you from the same room

> Tags you in statuses they want you to see along with 25 other people.

What we can learn from the Digital Gypsies

Digital Gypsies are hard to track in the digital realm and produce a lot of noise in your digital life. However they genuinely seem to enjoy what their digital life provides provides them. They end up with hundreds, if not thousands of friends followees followers circlees Digital Connections, many of whom they have never met face to face, but can give you detailed timelines of their recent activities and life struggles.

From their existence we can learn:

> Attention is not always positive.
> It is far easier to generate noise than it is to generate meaningful dialog or content.
> A carefree attitude in small doses can improve your enjoyment of certain digital experiences.
> “Friends” have a different exchange rates between the digital economy and the real world. (to borrow a phrase YMMV)
> It is easy to overextend your digital self if you don’t employ intelligent design in your digital life. (“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”)

> Mindful engagement in both digital and physical spaces is a rare trait that is often highly valued when found.

>>The Digital Tourist

Digital Tourists hail from all walks of life, but often can vividly remember the first time MTV premiered a Dire Straights or Whitesnake video. Digital Tourists are often busy with a jam packed social, work, family life and often are the first to tell you how busy they are and how they are never on Facebook anymore.

Traits of a Digital Tourist

> Carry a smartphone but never answer the phone.

> Reply to Text Messages once every other day and send 20 responses at a time.

> Have a profile picture that is one of the following:

> Them in Hawaii on their last real vacation (circa 2009)

> Their 12 Year old sons first day of Kindergarten

> A Betty Boop Mickey Mouse Sports Logo- Witty life message

> Default Image

> Reply to Timeline birthday wishes 3-4 days after the day and with a single message lamenting the fact they they could not reply to all of them.

> Post daily, but incorrectly attributed quotes by George Carlin Ben Franklin Socrates Bill Cosby Martin Luther King Jr.

> Forward all alerts for Lost Kids Fake Scams Facebook Security Settings Random Actor Good deeds How onions can ward off cold viruses.
> Only had a Facebook account (with 40 friends) and email until 4 months ago, but now have 4000 Pinterest followers and an average of 100 pins per day.
> Clips coupons for local stores and rarely shop online.
> Like the “feel” of real books and could never imagine using a Kindle.

What we can learn from the Digital Tourists

Digital tourists live 90% of their life in the physical world and although they enjoy connecting with people on Facebook, see it as a chore to keep up with and something that doesn’t add a lot of value to their busy life. Digital tourists are always amazed at how others can afford to “waste” so much time online.

From their existence we can learn:

> Time is a precious commodity to be invested wisely.
> Digital existence can be a burden if you don’t have a clear outcome in mind.
> Friendships are defined by more than an online connection.
> Not all achievements come with a badge.
> Just because it’s popular online, doesn’t make it valuable in the real world.

>>The Digital Voyeur

Digital Voyeurs are the ninjas KGB CIA Obsessive Girlfriend Buffalo Bill (think lotion not handlebar mustache) Creeper Columbo of the digital domain. (Digi Natives -> Context lives here ->

Traits of a Digital Voyeur

> Always likes pictures of your spouse (who they have never met).

> Seldom posts anything but pictures of cats.

> Recounts an astounding level of detail about your life when you run into them every 6 months in the grocery store.

> Likes pictures your friend (who they have never met) post and you happened to comment on.

> Sends friend requests to your friends (who they have never met).

> Post occasional statuses randomly while intoxicated which almost always disappear the next morning.

> Often hide behind their phone in real world social situations.

> Is probably Googling you right now. ( )

What we can learn from the Digital Voyeurs

Digital Voyeurs live vicariously through the digital emotions of others, they often feel connected through their digital existence to people they would not ordinarily talk to in real life very often. Digital voyeurs are very good at crawling through the connections of your digital life and may make connections to parts of your digital life you never intended folks to see.

From their existence we can learn:

> Privacy settings and Selective Sharing are critical.
> Know your Audience and share things that are worthy of their time.
> Always assume people are watching so be mindful of how your digital self appears.
> Care as equally for your digital appearance as you do your physical appearance (maybe more…)
> There are far more consumers than their are producers in the digital world, be sure you understand consumption models if you expect to produce anything of value (value can only be measured from the perspective of the consumer of the product).
> Don’t be afraid to research people and how they live digitally.
> You can learn a lot from quietly watching from the sidelines.

>>The Digital Homesteader

Digital Homesteaders are quickly becoming the engine of digital existence, they are often hyper connecters who cross all boundaries (Age, Race, Social Status, Economic Status). They can come from any generation but are often somewhere along their life journey that allows them a sense of perspective and an appreciation for the benefits of modern digital contrivances (haven’t spent part of their life wishing for a means to achieve what modern technology is now enabling).

Traits of a Digital Homesteader

> May or may not be a Digital Native (More often not).
> Selectively uses digital services and products to augment their own humanity.
> What you see of their Digital Persona is only 10% of HOW they live digitally.
> Maintain elaborate physical and digital systems to collect, quantify, measure, and improve themselves and others.
> Share enthusiastically what they learn with other Digital Homesteaders.
> Spend far more time listening than they do producing.
> Pride themselves on a very low “Digital Signal to Noise ratio”
> Often have above average social influence
> Tend to actively engage in targeted social communities
> Spend as much time or more nurturing relationships in the Analog World as they do in their Digital Existence.
> They project a fairly authentic digital self (for those they grant the privilege of seeing into that world through selective sharing, privacy controls and API level access).
> Value digital services and products that extend their digital reach without a high level of maintenance.

What we can learn from the Digital Homesteader

Digital Homesteaders, much like their pioneering kindred spirits of the mid 1800s, recognize that an opportunity exists to carve out a fulfilling digital existence. So they find ways to work the digital landscape into a self sustaining system that provides them most of what they need in a digital life in the most efficient way. They are not afraid of hard work to get to that end and know that much of the time they choose to invest digitally can pay off in the real world so long as they invest that time and attention in a mindful and Intelligent manner both in their systems and the people around them. Digital Homesteaders also know that they need to rely upon their communities to be successful and seek out others who they can support and be supported by. They also understand that trust is the most valuable stock that the world is trading in, therefore they value it in others (both people and brands) and cultivate it within themselves.

From their existence we can learn:

> Intentional Design yields better outcomes.
> Mindfulness in your interactions benefits all parties.
> Communities work better when knowledge and learning is shared.
> Hard work in planning is often rewarded with less work in doing.
> Trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and harder to regain.
> If you can do it, you should measure it.
> Invest wisely your time, money, and attention.
> You can augment yourself in ways that improve your humanity and extend your digital existence.

>>Mea Karajan Digital Vita<<

At various times in my own digital existence I have flirted with each of these Digital Personas, but have made a mindful effort to move closer and closer to being a Digital Homesteader every day. I have invested a considerable amount of time over the last few months to design a series of systems and support networks to bring me closer to that end.

It is an evolution, it is an intentional journey, and it is a mindful progression of where I see society headed.

I would like to be near the front of that line.


via Shane Carlson – Google+ Posts


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