MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

Dancing With Digital Natives

Posted by David Meerman Scott 06:29 AM on May 25, 2011

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"Stop listening to music and playing on Facebook. Do your homework."
I am doing my homework. But I work better when I multi-task.

"Did you email your friend to see if they want a ride?"
No. But I texted her.

"Twitter is not allowed on work computers."
Okay. Then I'll just have to go into the restroom with my iPad so I can tweet with my business followers.

Every day, miscommunication happens between "Digital Natives" (those born since the availability of today's technologies and therefore have native fluency in computers, mobile phones, and social networks) and "Digital Immigrants" (who have had to adapt and learn).

The culture clash can be remarkable.

In my many meetings with people in the working world, I see the culture clash first hand. The executives think from their immigrant perspective and clamp down on social networks at work. They take days or weeks to respond. They just seem out of touch.

Meanwhile, the digital natives who are entering the workforce are bewildered by the old ways of communication. They don’t answer emails. They are exceedingly casual in their communications. They just seem unprofessional.

But it doesn't have to be a world of miscommunication.

I'm convinced that corporate executives and HR people must learn how Digital Natives operate. And I also think that Digital Natives need to learn how to operate in a corporate world.

Dancing book A new book of essays called Dancing with Digital Natives: Staying in Step with the Generation That's Transforming the Way Business Is Done, edited by Michelle Manafy and Heidi Gautschi is a good place to start.

Dancing with Digital Natives includes sections on Digital Natives at work, selling to Digital Natives, plus entertaining them and educating them. Some essays are written by Digital Natives themselves such as Dan Schawbel and other essays by those who work with natives.

Now when I run into fear of social media among executives attending my talks, I suggest they need to read Dancing with Digital Natives. And I also suggest to university students that they should read the book so they know what to expect in the working world.

Image: Shutterstock / Suzanne Tucker

Disclosures: Michelle Manafy, co-editor of Dancing with Digital Natives, is a friend. Now director of content at Freepint, for many years Michelle was my editor at EContent Magazine. She also edited one of my early books published by CyberAge books, the publisher of Dancing with Digital Natives.

David Meerman Scott

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