Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Grown up Digital summary
Grown Up Digital is Don Tapscott’s follow up to his 1997 book Growing Up Digital. The book is directed toward older generations like the Baby Boomers and Generation X, and aims to help them understand and accept what Tapscott calls the Net Generation (Net Gen). Anyone born between 1977 and 1997 is a member of the Net Gen, or someone who has grown up in a digital world.
Tapscott believes that older generations have a negative view of the Net Gen and that it stems from a digital and generational gap. He argues that growing up digital and using technologies like the internet, cell phones, and Web 2.0 makes the Net Gen fundamental different from previous generations. If given the chance, Tapscott predicts the Net Generation will make unprecedented and largely positive changes to society using digital tools.
The book is separated into three sections. The first section introduces the Net Generation and highlights how they are different from previous generations using eight characteristics or norms. Some examples of these norms are; the desire of freedom in choice and expression, wanting to customize and personalize, demanding of integrity and openness, and the desire to collaborate. Tapscott uses these eight norms to show the motivations behind the changes that the Net Geners are bringing to education and the workforce.
The second section of the book details some of these changes, along with changes to family values and consumerism. One of the changes to education Tapscott advocates is the move from teacher orientated (lecture) teaching toward a more student orientated one, a style focusing on student input and collaboration. Some workplace changes by the Net Gen include having fun, a desire for speed, and a work anywhere attitude. Tapscott argues that institutions like education and business will need to change and adapt to these new styles of work and learning or they will fall behind and cause further harm to society.
The final section explains how the Net Gen will transform society by changing the way governments operate and taking social causes to a global scale. Tapscott uses examples like Obama’s presidential campaign, Facebook, and TakingItGlobal as proof that the Net Generation has changed politics and citizen engagement. Tapscott believes the Net Generation can use Web 2.0 tools and networks to bring about positive changes quicker and globally.
The tone of the book is overwhelmingly positive, and in favor of all the changes the author feels the Net Gen is bringing to society. Tapscott debunks the majority of the criticisms against Net Geners using his own research and examples. Most of his examples are specific Net Generation success stories.