Opinion

The Fijian digital age and its effect on our generations

The millennial generation is the largest age demographic in Fiji.
04 May 2019 14:47
The Fijian digital age and its effect on our generations

Opinion:

  • Damien Whippy is a consultant for Strategic Communications Firm Vatis. He specialises in online technology.

The Fijian digital age is an interesting topic, especially since we have an amalgamation of three very distinct Fijian thought cultures – that of the traditional generation X, that of the millennial and generation Z.

My article this week briefly explores the interplay between these three dispositions of thought and how the Fijian Digital Age has affected each of them.

Let us take a look at the three generations.

The traditionally older generation, or generation X, came from a brick and mortar world, where everything that existed was more or less in a tangible form. Born before and during an era when Fiji was coming to grips with the reality of determining her own fate after gaining independence, they are the generation that quite literally grew Fiji and developed our current industries.

They are used to an in-depth understanding of particular subject areas and rarely do they deviate from this throughout their careers.

Thus, as a mass, they identify more with trade and traditional work than anything else. They coined the ethos that if we work hard and steadily, we will eventually succeed, and they are indeed, quite right.
Millennial generation

Then we have the millennial generation, the earliest of whom were the first explorers in the digital frontier in Fiji. This is the generation that is the bridge between the older generation X and the younger generation Z.

Mobile phones were first introduced when fixed phone connections were at their peak. Then the internet was introduced. Both grew at staggering rates to get to the penetration rates they are at today.

We received mobile internet through GPRS, then 2G, 3G and now 4G, setting the stage for our next leap in knowledge development as a nation.

The millennial generation was taught to respect their work by generation X (I am of the opinion that the hidings we used to receive played a good part in this). The same as is now happening with generation Z, they were also exposed to the new schools of thought that came with the advent of the internet and its subsequent information age.

The millennial generation is the largest age demographic in Fiji.

Millennials are now slowly coming into their own as new leaders of thought and innovation in Fiji.

Because they have an understanding of both the physical and ethereal worlds, they have a unique opportunity to exploit this knowledge to advance thinking in many sectors where generation X currently preside. In short, they are the bridge that marries the schools of thought for the generations before and after them.
Generation Z

Cue generation Z. They have used the internet, technology and social media from a young age. Their paradigm is based on the interconnected world that they were born into and the technology that they are used to.

They are used to consuming small bits of information intermittently, and to learning by rote. They are used to learning socially, but social mediums, by their very nature, are superficial sources of information.

The rise of fake news in the world and the inability for the majority to sift through the superficial to find the authentic is a testament to how our collective mindset is adapting to the torrents of information that hit us daily. I am of the opinion that Generation Z, if developed into critical thinkers through education and immersive learning, could yet be the answers to the many problems we face as a society not only in Fiji but globally.

If solution development is done together with generation X and the millennial generation, we can use technological applications to solve problems for many existing sectors in Fiji, for which innovations have already been made at a global scale.

All in all, if we are more cohesive in our approach to understanding the problems that face us as a Fijian society grappling with an increasingly digital world, we can educate and responsibly pivot Fiji towards a brighter future, a future of prosperity and towards the development of critical thinking.

This will only spell good things for Fijians as we foray into the unfamiliar territory of new technology, and it is my fervent prayer that one day my child will be taught by thought leaders pushing the boundaries of what Fijians think is possible.

Until next week, all the best in the school of life!

Feedbackdamien@vatis.com.fj

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