Digital natives and knowledge: try talking to millions of Master Yoda! #digitalnatives #research

With 65% of Digital Natives considering the internet as their primary source of information, the tables have been turned. This has pushed even certain universities to want to review their curriculums, since learning by heart hasn’t the same power when confronted by students who can find the answer to all questions in just one click.
Knowledge therefore becomes more autonomous, more personalized, more individualised and offering an "à la carte" option, see for example the success of learning music via the internet.
And yet, how many critiques focus their efforts on this digitalized knowledge, because even though Wikipedia classes itself as the 12th most visited site in France, the exactitude of information found is often unreliable… but information today is more credible when it comes from a community of "friends" than when it’s from a traditional source of authority. So today, professors, politicians and brands are demanded to justify themselves.
A perilous exercise, which frequently leads to crashes and burns, because being called into question is as difficult to accept as it is unusual.
Whether it’s big industrial groups accused by consumer groups, or politicians who have bowed to the pressure of the public (like we saw during the last student demonstrations), the truth comes from the web. And if that wasn’t enough, reactions against this, attemps to quash a buzz often do nothing but fuel the flame, giving further credibility to false accusations. The recent rumours about Sarkozy/Bruni rocky relationship is a good example of rumours going wild…
In order to comprehend the world of the digital natives, you have to truly understand that for them we are now all equal with regards to information, that sources of authority which, having been credible, now how to justify themselves, and knowledge has become individualistic. A knowledge which is personified, personalised. So it’s no wonder that we now see our President on TV at the same table as people from the public, normally considered ‘punters’, and in first name terms.

Welcome to a world where information is held equally by all, and where references, that is to say authority, has disappeared.

A world which lots of brands try to navigate by being chummy with the consumer, prentending to be in first name terms: "you".
A superficial behaviour which is fated to stay at best totally ignored, and at worst the target for criticism.
To the narcissism of their public, they must respond differently: with interaction. That is to say with a dialogue that makes it possible to nurture, by giving the keys to understand the world which surround the digital natives, in encouraging them to understand it.
And above all, in giving them the tools to help them tame their environment. Apple or Nokia applications are good examples of this. Living proof that this does not just create goodwill…but that it can build empires.

tomorrow: high on emotions…

Adweek’s 2009 Global Agency of the Year

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