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A new protected class? The digital hermit

Posted by Meg Bear on October 23, 2008


 Those of you who still think that Social Networking and Social Media is about Millennials need not read any further.  The rest of us, already know that interest and participation in social media is not exclusively the purview of the digital natives (as Jason calls them). 

That is not to say being a digital native does not have advantages.  Clearly the concept of social media and technology in general are more natural to a digital native and those pesky concerns like privacy are somehow less important.   That said, participation in social media is not exclusive to GenY. 

I have been doing a few experiments with myself and my colleagues and what I have found (of course this is not a scientific study by any means) is that the level of participation in social media is more about the person and less about the technology. 

If you are a social person who finds value in collaboration than social media is going to come naturally to you.  If you care about the trivial things that happen in the lives of your colleagues and friends you are going to be enthusiastic about the ability to have a richer set of data available.

But what if you are not interested in others? What if you just want to get your work done and have others leave you alone?  My theory is, that it doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 50 you are not going to love social networking and you are probably going to wonder what all the hype is about.

I believe “digital hermits” are always going to exist.  They might be harder to spot today given the newness of social applications, but there will come a day when you will find you have hit an adoption threshold for social media.  Of course, you could try a policy of mandating participation but I am pretty confident that would backfire.

For those of you who “get it” your next big challenge is what to do about digital hermits.  Are they going to be left out in your organization?  Is that culturally and strategically ok? 

Lots to think about.

3 Responses to “A new protected class? The digital hermit”

  1. Jayavel Bharathi said

    Until 20th Century I kept my personal life completely secret to my colleagues. Only close friends know me better. Its only in the past few years, I started finding value in sharing our personal thoughts with colleagues and friends.

    To me, its more about your contacts who encourage you to expose in social media but not technology.

    I should also mention here, Vivian is very good in maintaining contacts and bringing us closer. She made me to realize the value of socializing in binding.

  2. Meg Bear said

    @Jayavel spot on. We trust the concepts of social networks in direct proportion to the people that are there. I think this further supports the idea that this is not really about technology, it’s about human nature.
    I also have to agree that Vivian is the glue that keeps us all together. What a blessing for us all! Most days I sincerely wish I could be more like Vivian.

  3. [...] People tend to have strong opinions about social tools as they relate to demographics and privacy.  [...]

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