Principal Consultant, Career OverDrive!
We hear a lot these days about the supposed value of being a "digital native" (defined as a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology; familiarized with computers and the Internet from an early age) as though being a digital native will automatically bring value to a hiring company.
Well, I'm here to tell you that a "digital native" is most often a flat out nothing.
What, why? How can you say that?
Because being a "native" doesn't mean the individual competent at the skill to which they claim to be native.
Well, consider how the communicative efficacy of the English speakers we all know or have heard who claim to be "native speakers".
The problem with the "digital native" moniker is that most of the folks this applies to only have experience sole as digital consumers.
They no experience or only very limited experience as digital producers.
They don't possess digital competency in general and more specifically they don't possess digital competency in a business context.
They are competent at perhaps locating an app in iTunes or Google Play, installing it and then using it among friends for fun.
But can they write production quality code? No.
Can they design, run, analyze, interpret and improve an online marketing campaign? Heck no.
Can they troubleshoot or debug a software or hardware problem? Nope.
The answer is most likely no, no, no.
The bottom line is that signing up for a twitter account to tweet your college ski trip is not the same as creating a twitter campaign for a fashion brand let alone an integrated multi-phase marketing program for said fashion brand.
There is good news, so hang tight.
The good news is that for those digital natives that do go beyond the install, that take the time to look under the hood, that actually remove the valve covers and look at the source code or to work to apply these tools in a business context to satisfy real world use cases, well, those digital natives are worth their weight in gold as they are as rare as an honest politician. They can write their own tickets and would be welcome just about anywhere.
So stop thinking being a digital native is enough. It isn't. A digital native is just a fancy word for a digital consumer.
Strive to be a digital producer. Be a digital creator. Be a digital expert.
Think about it.
You can thank me later.