Ageism in the Age of Digital

Somebody finally said it to me: I’m not calling ageism or anything, but we know younger people get it.

Do they?

The late 20 something guy who said this to me (as I was fumbling on my phone to show him something) was talking about digital media, a field we both work in. I am twice his age. I had a Mac Classic which is probably a fish tank now. I like to think so. The point I am trying to make is that I have been here all along, probably when that guy was a fish-like creature himself.

I have always liked where my computers have taken me but now, with the Internet, they leave me breathless. Not in awe breathless but running for the bus breathless. Especially the computer in my hand. Besides fast, they are crowded and noisy and full of shiny distractions. Like a club. I never much liked clubs.

Being good has nothing to do with age and a lot to do with personality. Whatever age we are, digital and social media for business has to be learned. And because of personality, some people are going like going fast and some aren’t.

No, the piece that actually matters is suitability. Being a digital native (the ones born with smart phones in their mouths) only shows age. The same for people with grey hair. We arrive at the finish line holding critical, but different things. It’s why we need variation in our teams.

My mother understood. She would never buy into a gated community. To her, they were ghettos of self-satisfied, old people living out the same life behind the same curtains. She didn’t think they looked like any fun. She wanted all life around her all the time.

So, to that guy: you’re wrong. Listen to my mother – to be really good, you need everyone.


The dino photo was taken by my father at the Calgary Zoo in the early sixties. What you can’t see is the fence, which I assumed was to protect us from the beast, but now understand was to protect the beast from delinquent children. Alas, it was the authorities that made it extinct. Bigger, better, more accurate dinosaurs are down the road at the Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. 


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