16 August 2006

‘Digital natives’ changing office culture and news organisations

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Anne Kirah
Elaborating on a recent Associated Press story that I blogged about, I found an interesting reflection on ‘digital natives’ changing corporate office culture by Anne Kirah, Microsoft’s senior design anthropologist:

“Kirah considers herself to be among the category which many of us older users fall into: the ‘digital immigrant’. This term defines those who have adapted to use technology, but were not born to it as digital natives were. We think we understand it, and perhaps many of us do, but learning to understand something and intuitively comprehending it are not the same qualities.”

“According to Kirah, digital natives are always online, even if they aren’t actually doing anything on the web. They are constantly involved with the internet or a PC when it comes to multitasking in their daily life.”

“One has to accept that this generation is wired differently and have personal and work ethics which contrast sharply with previous generations. Now, those values are being brought into the office as digital natives begin to enter the work force, and that is causing some issues.”

“‘These digital natives are now in the workforce. It’s a paradigm shift in how companies operate because, what do these companies do? They block the internet. They don’t allow instant messaging. They don’t allow all these behaviours which these kids have grown up with. Digital natives say, ‘Give me a deadline and I’ll get the work done. If I want to do it at 2 AM, that’s my business, but don’t tell me how and when”, says Kirah.”

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In another article, this time published by the British entertainment website Monsters and Critics, Kirah shares her insights on news organisations:

“News companies must adapt to the new world. The way they can survive is if the reporters read the viewers constantly and give them what they want, by bringing in citizen video and stories. They must listen to the story unfolding and use all reasonable resources of the viewers. But they must give something back to build loyalty, and that’s authenticity. Not stories filtered through company or political bias, but real news.”

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