You’re a Digital Native, But Are You Acting Like One?

You’re probably a digital native if you read this. Tim Street interviewed Revision3’s Brad Murphy, who leads business development/sales. He uses the term “digital native” to refer to the audience his shows reach. Street includes a video of the interview (for those who prefer the hipper form of video to the timeless form of written expression).

Digital natives, writes Street, are “people who don’t watch regular television, are looking for content on-demand – whether it’s text based content, video content or communicating through social media to find that content. It’s an audience that hyper-connected.”

Indeed I’m among the folks who almost entirely switched their television diet for online material, although over the past year I’ve returned to TV for some of my favorite comedy and dramas: “Modern Family” (a must-watch, and as wonderfully written and acted as “The Office”), Lost, Fringe, V, that blackout show, and a few others.

For those of us digital natives who also dabble in time-shifted television (AppleTV, Verizon On-Demand, Roku, Netflix), there’s also another alternative I’m surprised isn’t catching on. Why aren’t we all using an old PC with HDMI (digital) connection to our television sets? Until we start seeing some formalized solution to leverage that ethernet plug in the back of the giant monitors we call “HD television sets,” I’d think that would be a natural solution, and one we natives would demand!

Why DON’T people use an old PC and a wireless keyboard so they can roam the web without the Mac-like “walled garden” approach? Two theories:

  1. I asked Revision3’s Jim Louderback about that on Tuesday, and he believes it’s because the solution Roku and other players offer is more user friendly, even if somewhat controlled. I suppose that explains the conspicuous lack of a $200 device that allows free browser-led experience right from the television set with the convenience of a keyboard instead of a remote.
  2. Another techno-nerd friend explains that the cost of making a machine (fast processor, web connectivity, HDMI connection and wireless keyboard) would be somewhat higher than the market would bear for such a device… and maybe there’s not the pent up demand for such a “lean forward” WHILE “leaning back” tool.

In the mean time, we digital natives do want to consume our “new establishment” (new studio, shorter format webisodes) in the higher quality and convenience of a giant television set. So once again, for the 3rd year in a row, I’ll predict a solution arriving this fall. It might be via a device (a modernized AppleTV or iPad-initiated device, a Roku/TiVo thing, or a television or Blueray DVD player that plays nicely with web content). Otherwise we hardcore natives will have to keep furnishing our own, to give us the full access that our devices limit.

Common, people. What if I want to check YouTube without the limits these devices impose? And Hulu won’t soon be kind to newer solutions (just look at what they did to Boxee). So do we wait until the large media and electronic manufacturers figure it out, or just build our own?

7 Replies to “You’re a Digital Native, But Are You Acting Like One?”

  1. Sorry I’ve been absent lately and haven’t been around to slap you silly over your aggravating typos, Nalts.

    But I HAD to comment on this post as I have been a fan of Marc Prensky for some time now. He is actually the one who coined the term “Digital Native” and I have used his writings in an attempt to persuade TPTB at my school to increase the amount of computer instruction we provide.

    Here’s a link to his original article, if you are interested:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

  2. BTW, my new entertainment system is a media center computer that my son built for me that allows me to use it as a DVR. I can also watch YouTube, Hulu, etc. on my 42″ TV. So I am REALLY a digital native.

    Although, according to Prensky, I am an immigrant who has become acclimated to the new digital country.

    And I’m watching “Fringe” right now.

  3. I guess I’m not a digital native. I’m not sure why I would need a TV when I’ve got a decent sized monitor hooked up to my computer already. It would be nice to have when the Olympics come around I suppose.

    Do those monster screens actually have more pixels, or just bigger ones?

  4. I don’t hook up a machine because when I sit in my nice comfortable chair in the living room, I want something that does a limited amount of shit. I want it to aggregate the shit I watch/listen to in some nice apps and that is all.

    Boxee’s software is exactly what I want on my TV. I will be buying the Boxee Box when it hits for that specific reason.

Comments are closed.