I heard this terminology for the first time yesterday during a radio show. I am a Boomer (a late Boomer, mind you), not born into the digital age. Therefore, I am also a digital immigrant since I migrated to it or acquired and mastered it after its introduction into society. My children, however, are digital natives, as technology existed at the time of their births and continues to innovate our lives (my GenXers and Millenials).
These terms may turn out to have deeper implications for our world. One day I may have to protect myself if I feel I have been discriminated against due to my immigrant status. Will there be new legislation to ensure there are no barriers to my continued presence in the workplace? Can I expect preferential treatment in employment policies and practices because I am now part of a designated group? Should I initiate a cultural centre that aims to conserve the traditions and customs of my pre-digital ancestry? Will there, one day, exist a NAP – National Association for the Preservation of pre-digital humanity? I mean no disrespect to those for whom similar legislation is unfortunately necessary but as Traditionalists and Boomers delay retirement, digital immigrants in society today are taking all necessary measures. Many are, in fact, going to night school to be integrated to this digital society. We will NOT go away quietly. We will not go back to where we came from.
My children spurn my digital immigrant heritage and forge their new lives as natives on this digital planet. And why not? Should they even cast a backward but nostalgic glance at a manual typewriter, rotary phone, vinyl record or monogrammed stationary set? They will one day eulogize me saying, “Ah yes, our dear departed mother… do you know she used to handwrite her thank you cards? What a classic! For some reason, she always referred to my iPod as a Walkman – what was that all about?”
Digital immigrant, indeed. Im hu Im
(In case you require translation: http://www.lingo2word.com/translatetxt.php?searcher1=word&tosearch1=Create+Cool+Text+Messages+,+Just+Type+Your+Message+in+the+left+box)