Helping ‘digital immigrants’ navigate new lands of opportunity


April 17, 2018

Social media consultant Gina Schreck addresses pesticide manufacturers at the 2017 RISE conference.
Photo: Marty Whitford

Remember when America Online (AOL) first came out? Remember those three words you couldn’t wait to hear: “You’ve got mail”? What a difference a few decades make. How many of your emails are you equally excited to receive today?

This laughable perspective comes courtesy of Gina Schreck, founder of SocialKNX — a digital marketing and social media management agency — and, a social media coaching website.

Does email still have a place? Yes, of course, but we need to better bridle how, when and why we use it, professionally and personally, Schreck says.

“The best technology-adoption strategies are based on an ‘and, not or’ premise,” Schreck adds. “Email, for example, often works better when coupled with instant messaging, texting, online conferencing, and/or social media, as well as traditional phone and face-to-face communications.”

Progress requires change

Time and technology march on. Even Elwood Edwards, the voiceover artist who recorded AOL’s melodic “You’ve got mail,” has moved on. He’s now an Uber driver!

“Those of us who are age 35 or older are digital immigrants,” Schreck says. “Are we willing to venture daily into new technology lands, and learn new languages and skill sets? If not, we will be left behind.”

Successful technology adoption is part art, part science. It’s also part risk — it requires time, money and/or change — and part reward.

Some technology platforms never get off the ground. Others take time and tweaks to take off. But there’s no excuse to sit on the sidelines. Many technologies perform like email: They rocket to worldwide adoption and have incredible staying power, Schreck says.

“Making the most of new digital lands of opportunity does not mean we cut ties to, and forget, our homeland,” Schreck adds. “Rather, where we came from, and where we are — technology- and business-wise — can and should be critical pieces of our journey and ongoing growth.”

You can reach Editorial Director & Publisher Marty Whitford at or 216-706-3766.


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