Rejecting the digital fakers

Official blogger Joakim Jardenberg rejects the idea of digital natives and digital immigrants

Joakim Jardenberg is VD/CEO, Mindpark AB and an official blogger at this year’s NEXT Berlin

With a week to go before NEXT opens in Berlin I spent some time thinking about the theme of the conference: Post Digital. About the life and the world after we’ve stopped talking about digital as a separate entity. When digital is as natural, or even more so, than water in the tap or electricity in the wall.

To me it’s not so much a question of digital natives vs digital immigrants. It’s more about the mindset, and the bell curve called “diffusion of innovation”. It’s true that I might be affected by the fact that I’ve seen a world without mobile phones, which my son – age 17 – has not. But I still propose that I’m more of a true digital native than he is, because I have a different attitude. And with evolutionary development, and the speed of it, today we all wake up to a new world every day. I refuse to be limited by my age. I just have to learn to unlearn, faster and faster by the hour.

So in terms of post digital, instead of immigrants vs natives, I would rather talk about “the true digitals” vs “the digital fakers”.

To give an example of a faker, take a look at this Lifehacker post by Thorin Klosowski. It’s the story of a guy that claims to be digitally savvy and his experiment with living publicly online. Over a three week period he enables location-based services for tracking in the physical world and allows cookies so systems can track him in the digital space. The outcome: mainly good stuff – besides one incident where he lies to a friend and gets busted. The end result is still that he turns sharing off again and goes back to stealth mode, saying “no thanks” to all the benefits of which he only scratched the surface.

That’s a digital faker to me. Someone who still sees a clear dividing line between the physical and the digital. Someone who probably talks about IRL in the sense that digital isn’t really as real. Someone who hasn’t realized that as friction between man and machine moves towards zero we move towards 100% human.

It’s not about privacy or integrity – we can still have those at the level that we feel comfortable about. It’s about the default. It’s about the lack of understanding in that we live in one world, with no hierarchy between online and offline, and with no absolute preference of what is “better”.

So, post digital to me is about realizing that it’s all natural. That it’s one world with different facets. That zero friction, our collaborative construction of the one and the social drug on top of it pushes us willingly in the direction of 100% human.

Post digital is not a lesson to learn, it’s a life to live. In this world there is no room for douchebags lying to their friends. There will be no room for fakers, neither small nor big. No room for someone who claims to understand, while still standing outside. In that world the only recipe for success is very simple. One line to guide you through the world of post digital:

Be honest and do good shit.

It’s a simple as that, and as hard as that. Or isn’t it? Let’s meet up, in digital or in flesh, and discuss. Find me here or in Berlin at #nextconf. I look forward to your thoughts.

Photo by:  Tobias Björkegren