I was thinking about a conversation that I had yesterday and the comment directed to me was that I must be a real “left brain“er.  It had to do as a result of me helping someone with a problem by stepping them through a solution.  I think that the comment was supposed to be a compliment.  Or, maybe it was a put-down.  Or, maybe it was a comment that the person had directed inwardly because they were unable to solve the situation themselves.  I didn’t acknowledge the comment because I wasn’t sure how to take it and it didn’t really matter anyway.  I even thought to myself – if you wish to express thanks, you could pay me.  Trouble shooting like that would cost you big-time if you went to a service for a solution.

On the drive home, I started to think about this whole situation and started to get angrier and angrier.  It was the computer programmer in me that was wrestling with this.  So often, we label people who enjoy programming, with this tag.  In reality, they may well be some of the most balanced individuals as it’s the creativity and insights into technology and how people use the final product that makes their abilities, skills, and insights so unique.

Then, I read Jeremiah Owyang’s blog today.  He’s live blogging a session that he’s at about Digital Natives.  I find this comment amusing and probably so true…

[By age 20, kids will have spent 20,000 hours online –the same amount of time a professional piano player would have spent practicing –Dr. Urs Gasser]

… for some of them.

Then follows a list of generalizations about what a Digital Native is.  I don’t have a particular problem with the summaries.  Yes, some kids do grow up today connected and have an MP3 player in their ear and on one hand and a cell phone in the other.  The part that bothers me is the flip side.  It’s the generalization that if you’re not a “Digital Native”, you’re a “Digital Immigrant” and are someone kicked to the curb because you didn’t grow up this way.

But, you know what?  Not every kid fits that generalization and not every person not born in that timeframe doesn’t.  I know — you’ll need a truth table to parse out the negatives.

I look at the list from Mr. Owyang’s blog and I’d like to think that much of that describes me.  But, so what?  Instead of trying to find a label for people, why can’t society spend the time and effort to find out what makes each individual person tick and then respect them for being who and what they are?  Let’s use this information wisely to the benefit of all.

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links for 2009-05-13