It all started when I attempted to share a piece of news with my Son. Before I could complete my first sentence, he said “I’ve read this already and you don’t need to share”. I followed up with my second attempt, this time trying to share a joke. I ended up getting the same response. Never one to give up I tried to strike a conversation with him on the economy and the impact of this years budget. I thought this is my area of expertise and I could bring some great insights for him to understand. Aaargh! the same response yet again.
Dejected, I went back to my room trying to make sense of what just happened. I started by asking myself, “Is there nothing about which I can sit and have a conversation with my son”? I must confess, it led to more and more despair thinking about possibilities. This then led me to ask the basic question “Do I have to fight for my relevance? in my relationship with my son”
This is the ‘Digital Scare!” which people need to be worried about; or are we already? In an increasingly digital world where there are no boundaries and we are truly now a citizen of the whole universe, no news or information is news enough and information is stale within seconds of it getting published , We all are fighting to remain relevant.
I remember, having long conversations with my Dad and Mom about various aspects of life as they were the storehouse of knowledge and information what with their age and experience. I did have a little dependency there. Today it’s the Digital community which has almost like taken over the parenting role of holding conversations. Today’s parent seems to have lost control and is quite literally fighting to remain relevant in holding informed conversations with their children. The child is accessing the ‘digital storehouses’ of information and parents have to contend with that.
And this scare is for real. It’s a fight for relevance for Parents with their children; Teachers with Students; Doctors with patients; Organizational leadership with employees and even Governments with their citizens. The fight is not against a neighbor’s influence on your child; or a few handful of close associates who could directly influence the outcome of your transactions with family. The fight is against billions of people across the world who are now having the power to influence even the status of nations.
The pressure is on!
What then is the solution? Or Is there one?
I for one think its best to embrace and acknowledge that it is increasingly a virtual world in which everything gets defined, dictated, disrupted and more. Instead of fighting for relevance and trying to win information with more information, we need to look at a more collaborative and actively engaged approach. Choose to browse for information together for example instead of restricting access, engaging in digital online conversations than shunning it could be a way forward.
Another key area where you could still remain relevant and could continue to engage with people is on “hard skills”. These are the one’s which cannot be learnt or experienced online. For example, your child can have all the information about swimming as a sport and the do’s and don’ts etc., but he still needs to get in the pool with you to engage and learn the hard skill.
I think there are several such hard skills which you still have more experience using which you could stay engaged and relevant.
The battle is not all lost after all!
Which battles are you fighting to remain relevant? What alternatives have you?