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27May 2020

The Digital Refugee

I once attended a digital marketing conference in Orlando where the keynote speaker talked about “generations.” His message touched upon such things as (1) defining a generation’s starting point, (2) how to work well in a team comprised of multiple generations, and (3) how different generations view the use of digital technology.

He introduced a term that I had never heard before: Digital Native. A digital native is somebody who was born into a digital world (today’s world). Whereas, someone who was born, say, in 1974, in an analog world and saw the advent of digital consumer devices like home computers, cell phones, digital cameras, and now smart phones, would be called a Digital Migrant.

Makes sense, right?

So, what about those folks who would like to return to a world of NO DIGITAL devices? A simpler time with simpler technology. Imagine not being tethered by your smartphone 24/7! Remember the days of the rotary dial? For those people longing for a sans-digital world, what would they be called if they returned to such a lifestyle? I contend, they would be called Digital Refugees. I’m sure the term was coined by someone before me, but I like to think that it is my creation 🙂

While returning to a non-digital world seems like a romantic dream, it would, no doubt, present a host of unintended consequences. For example, in an instant, you would need to go out and purchase the following items that normally are wrapped into the smartphone: a music player, camera, video camera, navigation solution (e.g. maps), a watch, an alarm clock, a TV, and a telephone! When you start making a list of everything included in a smartphone you start to realize it’s a veritable Swiss Army knife!

I recently read a wellness blog called that inspired me to try and simplify my life. I need more balance. I need more peace. I need more happiness. Perhaps becoming a digital refugee is my answer.