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I have such fond memories of my dear Grandma Zoe growing up. She was blessed with a special gift of being able to capture the attention of all in a room through her engaging storytelling, which was often based on her childhood and teen adventures, back in England. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to visit her home town and replace real images with the ones in my head, her stories are so alive in my memories that it’s as if I’ve actually walked down those very cobble stone streets with her back in Birmingham.
How different the world does seem when I think back to her stories. Such simplicity in many of life’s tasks, like posting telegrams to communicate, walking as the main form of transport and going to a local town hall to meet your peers in person. I can even feel those butterflies she described in her tummy as she waited for that handsome man (my grandad) to hurry up and ask her for a dance. I treasure Grannie’s stories dearly, as I’m sure each of us do from loved ones that have passed on.
Living and working in today’s digital age does make me giggle at times when I think of how much has changed from Gran’s upbringing. She would be shocked to see my son, who from 3 years old would pick up my smart phone and access its applications as if he were simply putting a pencil to a colouring book. Seeing how normal it is for people to travel across multiple countries in one day and realising the main form for many families and friends to communicate is via online social channels, rather than talking over a meal at the dinner table.
I certainly don’t want to seem negative or disrespectful as I compare these starkly different realities, as each generation plays a significant part in building our future. But I do feel it is a good exercise, for individuals and also businesses, to think of people in our networks that grew up in a time before the digital age we are now in. So many wonderful people are around us and are extremely valued and loved in our society. How strange it must have been for our elders to have witnessed technology and terminologies evolve so quickly.
Have you ever wondered how many grandparents would actually know there is more than one meaning of the word “Cloud?”
My mind was filled with these questions this morning, after I woke up yesterday to see I’d been tagged in a clip on Facebook, which surprisingly was of dear Grannie’s two identical twin cousins Jacqueline and Jennifer who are in their eighties now. They were familiar characters in my Grannie’s stories, frequent participants at the local town dances, but today I saw them as the main characters in a digital campaign for Barclays Bank – Digital Eagles. This put a big smile on my face as I was inspired by what Barclays are doing within their community, across all generations. For their valued seniors they host Tea & Teach sessions on a range of digital topics, on the other end of the scale they have invested in education programs for young ones, such as their Children’s Online Coding Playground, where kids can start to discover coding in a safe environment, building digital skills for their future.
It’s not in my nature to want to write, but I felt an obligation today to voice an encouragement to my network, which is filled with so many talented digital professionals. I want to convey to each of you that Digital engagement shouldn’t be seen as a scary threat or a device to eliminate human interaction. These wonderful channels are designed to work as a platform to partner with the heart and soul of traditional engagement strategies, to best communicate a message more effectively in a targeted form that is immediate, accessible and convenient for all generations to enjoy.
Rather than us just continuing to cater to our elders through transitional methods of communication, how about we stretch ourselves and offer to teach them something new, as they patiently did for us for so many years. Hopefully this will also encourage our young ones to keep us up to speed, as they upskill and overtake us in this ever evolving digital world!
Principal : Digital