Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

Grown Up Digital

Posted by B2W on November 4, 2008

Post by: Patsy Worrall of QUAY Strategies

Don Tapscott, considered one of the visionaries and leaders of the digital era, is running a series of excerpts from his new book Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World in The Globe and Mail.

Tapscott is always a good read and he provides valuable insight into the minds of the Net Generation (who are 31 and under), who are an influential part of the workforce and of our world.

Tapscott uses U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama as an example of tapping into the force of the Net Generation. Obama hired Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to run his online campaign – and that changed everything. Hughes is smart and he understands the power of online. Instead of pushing out information to potential voters, he created an engaging, interactive and collaborative campaign. His campaign, as cited by Tapscott, gave each Obama supporter the power to organize events, raise money and tell friends – without waiting for permission from campaign headquarters. He empowered Obama supporters and it worked. Obama raised record amounts of money (he raised $66 million in August alone!). He spoke to filled football stadiums and his supporters were completely engaged. Obama was smart, he used the online world to connect and create an authentic community.

It is interesting to note the comments on Tapscott’s article on the Globe site – they range from skeptical of Tapscott’s stats, facts and opinions to downright nasty about the work ethic of the Net Generation. There is a huge gap right now between the people who don’t want to see that the world is changing and those that are embracing it. The world has changed – and the Internet is a huge part of that evolution.

I think we need to be realistic and understand both the opportunities and the challenges online. We need to acknowledge that how we communicate is evolving and that large groups of people – from the Net Generation to seniors – want to be involved and interactive. Online technology gives them the tools to do it.

As people and as professionals, we need to accept the changes and look for ways to make the most of them. Change is hard, but in this case, it’s unavoidable.




2 Responses to “Grown Up Digital”

  1. Fareedah said

    Engaging potential voters through the online realm (especially young, first-time voters) was a great success during this Election campaign. This year marks the highest young voter registration in history. Four years ago, social media wasn’t what it is today. Avenues such as blogs, facebook, myspace, and other similar sites were not used to engage this voting group. This year, there has been an explosion of Election build-up on these sites and groups supporting either party have thrown their hat in to voice their opinions and remind people that voting is important.

    There is no doubt that online campaigns have had a great impact during this Election year, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

  2. I have been reading Seth Godin’s new book Tribes — and in it he talks about the fear that many people have when it comes to leading and taking risks. It seems that many of the people that commented in such a hostile manner on the Globe Article by Tapscott might have a bit of that fear running through their veins.

    The Web is not the answer to all of our problems .. and I am sure it creates quite a few of its own, but given how communication has evolved over the past few years, it surprises me that people are still burying their heads in the sand and pretending it’s all a just little fad. This ship has sailed. The Internet has given each of us a voice … and individually or collectively as a part of our “tribe” … we are talking with each other, to the organizations we like and don’t like — and about those same organizations to anyone who will listen.

    Obama might not have been elected because of this new way of connecting, but it helped. I have heard several rumours from pretty reliable sources that right now, the President Elect is looking for a Chief Tecnology Officer. It’s part of the promise he made to voters. Check it out here

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