Monday, October 3, 2016

Digital Native or Digital Immigrant – Maybe We're Missing the Point

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


We live in an interesting time, to say the very least. Changes are happening faster than the most diligent among us can record, much less keep up with. 

Our digital world seems to be the catalyst for the majority of those changes. Because I am a part of the the older generation (ouch, that hurts) I hear a lot of derogatory comments about technology and the fact that our generation is not a digital native. We are classified as digital immigrants.

Digital Immigrant vs. Digital Native
It’s a fact that many of us didn’t grow up around the technology we have today—and some of us not around any technology. That truth makes some things tough. But that difficulty is no excuse to quit. I didn’t grow up having to do a lot of things, but as an adult I had to learn.

Growing up, we had telephones connected by a cord in the wall, television sets that had to be changed with a knob on the front, and there was only one kind of mail and it involved paper, an envelope and a stamp. I’ve managed pretty well to learn how to use a remote control, cell phone, and manage email.

The truth is, we learn what we want to learn.

I hear a lot of people lamenting the “good ol’ days” and wishing we could go back.

If we think back, the good old days weren’t all that great. Making phone calls meant encountering busy signals, disconnections, and angry parents who were tired of teenage girls tying up the phone line talking to boyfriends. The television was grainy, it went off the air at midnight, and there were only about a dozen channels. Then there was mail. It certainly was no more reliable than the email I deal with today.

Every time has its irritations and difficulties.
Every time has its irritations and difficulties.

But I would propose to you that our birth into this place and this time was no accident. God is not surprised by the stresses we encounter or the obstacles we encounter.

...And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b (NIV)

Instead, I put forth the idea that He has a purpose for us in this point in history. And furthermore, that our digital struggles are part of that purpose.

Perhaps we need to stop looking at social media from such a small, one-sided, viewpoint. What if sharing information about our books and our message was secondary—a byproduct of what God actually intents. Suppose the whole point of this is to spread His message. Here are some things that God has me thinking about:
  • What if my refusal to learn to connect on social media is actually interfering with the purpose God has for me here and now?
  • What if using the fact that I’m a digital immigrant as a crutch is hindering God’s plan for my life?
  • What if, instead of ignoring or boycotting social media, God’s purpose is to retake it for His glory.
These aren’t easy-to-answer questions. But they are questions we should be asking ourselves. God put us here for such a time as this. I for one, have decided that I need to embrace this time and look for places to join Him in His work, no matter how uncomfortable that makes me. How about you?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLE
Digital Immigrant or Digital Native—Does itreally matter? Thoughts from @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

25 comments:

  1. When I first became a Christian, I didn't know a single Bible verse, couldn't find Malachi in my Bible if my life depended on it, and had no idea how to effectively share my faith, but I learned. God used what I learned to make me a more effective soldier in his army. As long as I live, i'"" be learning new skills and information to make me a more effective witness for him. Why should I expect the technology aspect of my life to be the exception? Thanks for a great post.

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  2. You've introduced a good thought-provoker. From my perspective, I don't think the problem among the older generation (and I'm included in that lot!) is resistance to change or refusal to welcome new ways of getting out the message so much as frustration over how fast everything changes today. About the time one begins to "get the hang of" some new medium, it changes. Microsoft comes out with a new version, and we tackle it, doing the best we can with our deteriorating memories to grasp and use it intelligently and effectively--and then they come out with an updated version that is radically different in the way it's set up or used. That, I think, is what leads to the "Aaargh!" you hear coming from us older writers. The technology doesn't remain constant long enough for us to really learn and exploit its wonderful opportunities. Nonetheless, your comments are good food for thought to help us try being more patient!

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    1. Dennis, you bring up good things to think about. It is a difficult time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

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    2. Good point. Because with each new thing, we have to forget or replace something we had learned. That has to be causing some of our confusions and headaches. But not an excuse to get off the train and quit. Just acknowledge the hurdle.

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    3. Tim, great thoughts! Blessings, E

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  3. This is exactly what I have been dealing with for weeks!!! It is a breaking point for me and humility lesson that I crave help, need help but hate to ask for help in this area. Lately, I have asked for help and felt peace and freedom and such joy at the outcome! Wish I learned this lesson earlier! We do not possesses every personality type! Ask for help with those areas you don't have: I have no anylitical skills. God made us this way to depend on others in relationships. I now crave others' knowledge! Thanks for this excellent post!

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    1. Erin, thank you for sharing how you've approached this issue! Such wisdom - Blessings, E

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  4. Thank you Edie I needed to hear that.

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    1. Jann, thank you for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  5. Thank you Edie for this post. Just this morning I sensed God telling me to quit my complaining and thank Him for everything! That includes amazing technology that I find myself struggling to learn and then keep up with. And with everything in life, it is what we make of it. And regardless, God is good!

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    1. Judy, I'm right there with you. This post is more for me than anyone else! Blessings, E

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  6. AMEN!!!!!! (AS I struggle with Snapchat!)

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    1. Andy, I'm still playing around with Snapchat! Blessings, E

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  7. I needed this, Edie! I pulled away from social media the past few weeks, at first because of vacation time and then because of frustration. Your post reminds me that God equipped those who created the social media platforms and He wants us to use it for His glory. Not to mention that my book sales have tanked over this quarter. :(

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    1. Sherry, it's hard to remember in the midst of frustration. But our God is able! Blessings, E

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  8. How often we tend to compartmentalize our lives—digital has nothing to do with our faith!! So glad you shared this Edie, our faith should permeate everything! I have an illustration of "good old days" to share. I wanted an image of a hand written note that would have been written in 1880. so I created it myself (hoping the words would be legible in my meme... ) I have artist inks, but lacking a quill, I used (don't laugh) my nail file! (I said don't laugh!) Let me tell you!!! That was not easy! And it was a short note! I can imagine how William Shakespeare wrote the volumes he did!!! And it was legible!!! ya, I'll take my laptop any day!!! And I pray my faith shows up along the way!

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    1. Robin, excellent thoughts! Blessings, E

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  9. Although I've done my share of grumbling about technology, I'm very thankful for it. I don't think this extroverted writer could make it without social media. It helps me feel connected and less isolated. And certainly, I've learned so much that has enable me to pursue my dreams through sites likes yours! Thank you for taking us techno-challenged writers under your wing!

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    1. Kelly, that's a great perspective! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  10. It's been my experience that whenever I'm frustrated with new and changing technology, it's because I don't want to learn one more thing. And I've observed this truth in many others. As older writers, we are faced with re-learning and replacing all we knew about English Composition and Creative Writing. Then we're hit by the reality that we have to become our own Public Relations and Marketing departments. And that, of course, involves the ever-changing world of technology. All this can become challenging for our "deteriorating memories" to the point of making us want to give up.

    But, as you said, It's at those crossroads that we must yield to the promptings of God or follow our own selfish desires. And I've learned that in the long run, following God's plan for us is truly easier.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  11. Edie, thanks for expressing a viewpoint that helps this technophobe buckle down and learn the ins and outs of our "brave new world," even when I don't want to. By the way, I've encountered the same thing in my specialty when I was practicing (and teaching) medicine--those of us who trained in sinus surgery before the advent of endoscopic technique had a tendency to resist learning the new way to do it, but we had to...and it was good. Thank you for sharing.

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