Hearing the stories of 20-something university students changing the way the world connects, from their dorm room, I guess 40 is pretty ancient for a CEO of a social media start-up. I get social media. I Facebook. I blog. I tweet. But one thing I can never be is a digital native.
No, those of us who have dealt with the shift from rotary to touch-tone, from analog to digital, we are labelled digital immigrants. So, who cares right? Well, I do. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat hoping to god that my immigrant status doesn’t get in the way of designing a product for the digital native.
I know that the younger, tech-savvy market is who will make or break the success of our product. It was the digital native that inspired the birth of Tokii. We saw the gap…we saw that the new generation will be living their lives online. How are the digerati different?
They’re Plugged In: They are Web savvy multitaskers able to watch TV, surf the Web, listen to music, and talk or text on their phones–often performing several of these things at the same time. An A.D.H.D. evolution.
TV Isn’t King: Although some DN obsess over shows like “The Jersey Shore”, DN spend more time surfing the net and using other devices, like iPods and Xbox, even when it cuts into TV viewing. For them, TV is often just “background noise.”
They Don’t Care About Your Ad, They Care What Their Friends Think: Immersed in media, both online and off, digital natives are marketed to left and right. But when it comes to making decisions, DN tend to rely on their network of friends and their recommendations, not traditional ads.
Work Isn’t Their Whole World: Sure, they’re going to go to work, but it had better be fun. For DN, work isn’t their identity. It’s just a place. DN see no reason why a company can’t offer the ability to work from anywhere, flex-time, a culture that supports team communication, and a “fun” work environment. They’re also not going to blindly follow orders just because you’re the boss.
Socializing Rules…But They Want to Control It: Gen Y thinks a truly “private” life is a crock. 54% have used MySpace, Facebook, or some other social network. Most of DN had to learn the hard way about the perils of posting everything online for friends, family and employers to see. They’re happy to continue over sharing with friends, but also learning how to protect their updates and set their profiles to private. They’re also wary of old folks, like their boss, trying to “friend” them in their social space, especially if they’re tragically un-hip wannabes.
Work Tools Need to Mirror Web Tools: DN will drive adoption of “Enterprise 2.0” products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect, their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren’t provided with the tools they want, they’re going to be savvy enough to go behind Its’ backs and get their own.
This is the new reality: social media/ loss of privacy/ living online and managing your relationships online can only take your them so far, so when Tokii saw this gap we jumped on it. We want to be the hub people gravitate to manage their relationships. We want to be a driver of how people can connect online in new ways. We know social media is flourishing and Tokii wants to be there first to provide the platform to make it easier, faster, and more entertaining for people to nurture and build tighter relationships with their family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.
It is not a matter of whether there is a need for this, it’s a matter of who will provide it first. The train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. And frankly who wants to turn back? Not me!