Ageism in the Age of Digital

Somebody finally said it to me, young people are better at digital.

I’m not calling ageism or anything (well, I am). Younger people like to laugh at older people using their digital devices. If it wasn’t this it would be something else. It’s always been this way.

The late 20 something guy who said this to me (as I was fumbling on my phone to show him something) spoke with authority. But 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 learn, and continue to learn, what I need to know.

I have always liked where my computers have taken me. Though now, with the Internet, they can leave me breathless. In awe breathless for sure, but also running for the bus breathless. Especially the computer in my hand. Besides fast, it is crowded and noisy and full of shiny distractions. Like a club. I never much liked clubs.

I wonder how many people, of any age, are out of breath?

The thing is, I can design the right content and write good copy. I know customers in a certain way because of my age. These are skills I’ve developed. I’ve paid attention. I have something that only comes from age.

Whatever age we are, digital media for business has to be learned – and by everyone. It’s a tool. Being a digital native (the ones born with smart phones in their mouths) only shows age. The same way people with grey hair show age. We all arrive at the finish line holding critical, but different things. Our teams should reflect that.

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 (the people or the gated community) 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 then 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.