Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Digital is natural, aka Digital makes me feel old. (Little Red Riding Hood revisited)

On the whole, I consider myself rather digital-savvy. I use the computer, have an I-Pad, and am familiar with most social media and some of the coolest apps. I love and use new technologies even if I don't necessarily understand how they work. Of course I am a total Luddite compared to some friends who have made being digitally knowledgeable a priority, even a profession. And I am talking about people my age, or just a couple of years younger.

But if, in a moment of self-flagellation, I were to compare myself to the next generation (to be clear: this means only slightly older than my children) I feel a moron. And please tell me I am not the only one.

I know what I am saying is not earth-shattering. New generations are exponentially better at using and understanding new technologies. Right.

So how does one explain....Neelie Kroes? Is she for real?

Don't want to go into the speculations about her wanting to stay on as commissioner (although at 72???). Nor am I  interested in whether she is really into innovation and digital things as much as she is obliged to say. The fact is that you hear the phrase the 'digital agenda' more often than before. This is at least in part thanks to her, her team and their open and fresh communications strategy. It's true that the digital economy and all that is technology fascinates a wider section of the population than, say, agriculture. But there is more.

The video in this post is quite fun and people can relate to it. It is slightly worrying though: I do confess, I have tried increasing the font of a book with the thumb and index finger, or at least I wished it worked. - It's called a Kindle, Virginia!-

Commissioner Kroes has a huge following on Twitter; she is open to discussion and possible criticism; her spokesperson tweets in a fun and friendly fashion - as does the head of the spokesperson service of the Commission and a few others to be fair. (Interesting side-quiz: how many spokespersons actually have their Twitter names in their press contact details on the Commission's website? And is there a relation with the number of followers?)

Anyway, back to the digital agenda and the next generation. This week the Commission announced the winners of the 'Digital Woman and Digital Girl of the year' and when I read the press release (yes, despite my general aversion, I do read press releases sometimes; this is a post full of confessions!) I wanted to cry. Not because I was moved by the poetry of it, nor by the originality of its layout. No, I wanted to cry because I read that one of the two 'digital girls of the year', now 13, has started CODING. Did you read that? CODING...three years ago! Did you even know what coding was three years ago?? Ok, she wouldn't be digital girl of the year if she only knew how to find a comma on the keyboard, but still, coding at 10? Scary but fantastic.

And so here goes the new version of the 'Little Red Riding Hood' tale: once upon a time there was a grandmother with more than 86.000 followers and a 10 year old girl.. coding...and they all lived happily ever after...Amazing. Sorry, need to go and get my handkerchief!

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