There’s a term lately which get’s me increasingly annoyed. The term is “Digital Immigrants”, which is usually used to paint a line between them and the so called “Digital Natives.”
Think about “Digital Natives” what you want. I don’t like it because of its imprecision, its focus on a quality as a function of age rather than a function of usage.1
I don’t like “Digital Immigrants” for a wholly different reason: it is mostly used as a line of defense by people who do not want to engage with the Internet, or digital technology, in their lives. The term “digital immigrant” implicitly gives them permission to not have to put in effort to learn this medium, and makes their inability to grasp its effects or even just how to use it not a failure of their own or the engagement they have with the medium, but a function of their early birth.
It gives them an easy out.
“Please forgive my inability to correctly send an email, but, you see, I’m an digital immigrant” they say, without even a hint of irony.
When you encounter people referring themselves as “Digital Immigrants”, proceed with caution.
Chances are they’re not “Immigrants”, but ignorants.
Which in turn correlates with age, but age here is a corollary, not the primary determinant. ↩