Archive for February, 2012

‘Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards’ or ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants’?

In my previous post, I used the terms innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. These are psychographic profiles that have been used for over five decades; these profiles were originally developed to characterize the purchase patterns of hybrid seed corn. These profiles are routinely used in information technology as part of the technology adoption lifecycle.

More recently, the terms ‘digital immigrant’ and ‘digital native’ have been used to describe different sets of computer users. Marc Prensky discusses these at length in his 2001 On the Horizon article titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”.

Do these two sets of terms really describe the same phenomenon? Are digital natives the innovators and early adopters and are digital immigrants the early majority, late majority, and laggards? Is there some other difference being described? I prefer a behavioral distinction rather than a distinction based on birth year.

February 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, or Laggards?

Last week’s open discussion at our NMFS was on “The Reluctant Technologist” [February 20, 2012]. Each of us offered an example of someone who was a user of technology, but did so reluctantly.

In my position was director of an M.S. program in management information systems, our students  are not reluctant technologists, but rather those who are innovators, early adopters, or in the early majority.

However, I have had students in our MBA course titled “Information Technology Management” who are reluctant technologists. They come from professions as different as healthcare and the auto industry. These are professionals who understand the potential of information technology, but who do not know how to navigate all the decisions involved in IT adoption. The physician understands the need for electronic health records and wants to know how to make a good decision. The owner of a successful auto dealership understands the need for integrated systems and wants to know how to make a god decision.

Perhaps these students are not so different from our academic colleagues who are reluctant users of technology. We may all understand the potential of information technology. Some of us may be eager to identify new technologies [innovators], participate in pilot tests [early adopters], or adopt them early [early majority]. Others of us may wait to see what colleagues’ experiences may be [late majority] or may adopt a technology only after it is well established [laggards].

We identified several important questions:

  • Can we help colleagues adopt technologies earlier by providing training and support that is tailored to his/her discipline?
  • Is the difference in IT adoption based on age?
  • How do we know that a particular technology will have a positive impact on student learning?

February 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet” and “Meet the Connected Consumer”

Here are musings on “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet” by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, which appeared in Wired September 2010 and here, as well as “Meet the Connected Consumer: How Tablets, Smartphones and Facebook are Changing the Way Consumers Shop Across Retail Categories”, a zmags-sponsored consumer survey which appeared in January 2012 and was summarized here.

As it turns out, I teach “Electronic Commerce” during Winter Quarter, so the readings are timely. We spent some time during our last session discussing what has made e-commerce not only possible, but spectacularly successful: the platform neutrality of the Web. Any website is accessible. Any computer—desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone—with a browser can reach any website. Any site can compete for visitors, subscribers, and customers by being searchable.

The app-driven future that Anderson and Wolff describe is one where the custom app maximizes the user experience. While the underlying platform—the Internet and TCP/IP—is different, the custom app seems to be a throwback to a mid-1980s client/server architecture approach. Client-side software was required to run any application package. Updates, not unlike new app releases, were required periodically. Also, not unlike new app releases, bugs in new releases would make the application unstable or changes in one software application could affect other applications.

I do not disagree that apps are useful. Apps do not interact with each other. I see apps as useful appliances.  A set of apps is a set of silos. The benefit is still in platform neutrality.

“Meet the Connected Consumer” does not try to predict the future, but describes consumer trends. PCs and laptops are used most heavily for browsing, researching, and purchasing across all categories and by a large margin. Even in tablets, browser-based shopping is preferred over app-based shopping.

The zmags survey suggests that retailers pay attention to Facebook-connected consumers. I do not disagree. With 845MM active users, Facebook is a retailer’s gateway to connected consumers. Over three-fourths of connected consumers are active Facebook users and at least 40 percent follow their favorite brands on Facebook. Tablet owners seem to favor shopping via Facebook pages.

A few key points that I will highlight at our next class session:

  • The smaller the device, the more appropriate for an app [smaller screen size, better use of resources]
  • E-commerce and all websites
    • must engage visitors, subscribers, and customers across a variety of platforms: desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone
    • must continue to watch how different categories of users, for example, simplifiers, surfers, bargainers, connectors, routiners, and sportsters may change their behavior and device of choice
    • must continue to explore different technologies

What do you think? Am I missing something? Please comment.

February 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on the New Media Faculty Seminar at Benedictine University

What will be included on this blog are thoughts and comments on a number of readings. I am participating in the New Media Faculty Seminar at Benedictine University.

Our intent is “greater understanding of the cross-disciplinary foundation from which these tools were created, why social media came about, and becom[ing] comfortable using these tools to help you meet your own learning and research goals” as noted here.


Please comment.

February 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm 1 comment


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