Generation C is where Life is done “Digital-First”
We are approaching a “new normal”
It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it
Some of history’s most famous one-liners were never actually said, and have been replaced with easy to remember adaptations of the less elegant lines that were actually said. Quotes like Holmes’s “Elementary, my dear Watson”, Napoleon’s “Not tonight Josephine” and Star Trek’s “Beam me up Scotty” are all misquotes.
Mr Spock never said “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.”, but that line is quoted widely in so many places. What he actually said was a much longer line. SPOCK: “Within range of our sensors, there is no life, other than the accountable human residents of this colony beneath the surface. At least, no life as we know it.”
The more elegant and more memorable line “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it” has replaced the original, and has been modified by many to substitute something else for “life” to make lines such as “It’s food, Jim, but not as we know it” when a diner is less than impressed with the dish they’ve been served.
“Within range of our sensors, there is no life, other than the accountable human residents of this colony beneath the surface. At least, no life as we know it.”~ Dr Spock, Star Trek
However, “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it”, quite accurately describes our new normal. In the last few weeks, we have been plunged into a life of physical self-isolation to help combat this COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s been accompanied by an increasing online connection with our families and friends, and with our colleagues and clients.
Our “old” normal relied on our remote connections through the traditional phone calls, and more recently to include text messages and various social media channels with which we have started to become familiar. Our “new” normal has now had to embrace the online world though video calls, webinars and video conferences. People who would never have dipped a toe into the murky online world, are now turning into enthusiastic advocates of its use.
In recent years it has become popular to consider our population being composed of several distinct groups of people with a similar outlook on life. These groups tended to be pretty consistent for a generation, and then a new generation emerged with a new outlook. Since each new generation had an outlook that was different from the previous generation, the previous generations just thought they were “weird”.
“Generational differences, changes, and trends are reshaping industries, disrupting companies, and affecting our daily lives.”~ Jason Dorsey
Jason Dorsey is a generational researcher and says that we can define these recent generations as:
- The Silent Generation – born between 1928 and 1943,
- Baby Boomers – born between 1944 and 1964,
- Generation X (or Gen X) – born between 1965 and 1976,
- Gen Y (the millennials) – born between 1977 and 1995, and most recently
- Gen Z – born between 1996 and 2015.
“Generations are not boxes. Instead, they are powerful clues that help us better understand, connect with, trust, and influence people of different ages.”~ Jason Dorsey
In these last few weeks, we have been plunged into Generation C. This isn’t what you might first think. Gen C doesn’t stand for Generation COVID-19 or Generation Coronavirus. It actually refers to the Connected Generation.
So what does this mean?
Gen C is not an age group, it’s a lifestyle; Gen C is anyone relying on tech; Gen C recognises that tech is connecting us, rather than distracting us, and Gen C has four main characteristics. These are:
- creation – Gen C’ers create their own content, valuing relevance and originality over polish and perfection
- curation – Gen C’ers share things they like and identify with things they share
- connection – Gen C’ers naturally use online methods to connect with others and consume content; they are happy to be “always-on”
- community – Gen C’ers are more interested in joining communities with a cause than joining committees
Gen C’ers are content to embrace the online world as part of the real world, rather than something distinct and different from it. The distinction has moved from choosing between the real world and the online world, to understand that the real world includes the physical world and the online world.
Gen C’ers are content to interact with “the internet of things”, and they will happily talk to Alexa or Siri and ask them to give instructions to their household appliances as part of everyday life.
Some years ago, websites went through a transformation from “desktop-first” to “mobile-first”. The earliest websites were created when the only means of accessing the internet, the World Wide Web, were desktop PCs. There was no mobile internet access until well after the smartphone arrived with the production of the iPhone, and even then we had to wait a while for mobile internet access to fully emerge.
As smartphone technology improved, so we started to be able to access websites through mobile devices, which proved to be a problem for mobile users since websites didn’t load well on a mobile platform. So, before long the market moved to what became known as a “mobile-first” design, where websites were optimised for viewing on a mobile device first.
“Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) proposed at the Mobile World Congress in 2010 that designers should follow the “mobile first” rule in product design.”
It seems that in the “new normal”, our Generation C will have us consider “mobile-first”, oir rather “digital-first” in all of our activities.
This will inevitably bring a reduction of costs and of fuel consumption as we all start to meet together online, rather than having to travel to meet physically. Having had to embrace some new ways of working online and from home, any fears that may have prevented us from giving it a try have now been overcome. We’ve had to give it a try, and many people will have found that “it works”.
Rather than designing for the physical world, and then simulate that design in the online world, we’ll be designing for the online world, and simulating that in the physical world. We’ll start living our lives digital-first.
“Our new normal is where we’ll start living our lives digital-first.”
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.