Are digital connectivity and nomadism reshaping our identity?
Report findings show we are increasingly moving from a society shaped by notions of place, to one shaped by work, goals and interests.
According to the Where the World’s Moving Global Report, looking at consumer attitudes toward future trends, the concept of ‘home’ is shifting. It’s no longer simply about where we set down our roots, with many people now calling more than one place ‘home’. In fact, 67% of global citizens surveyed identified themselves as multicultural, with Australian respondents more likely to identify themselves in this regard.
So what has contributed towards this changing concept of home?
Thanks to the internet and the digital age, we are now able to virtually transcend borders that once limited people, ideas and business opportunities. This has strengthened a new sense of belonging and fostered collaboration, by keeping modern global citizens connected with like-minded people across the world, in both work and social situations.
This bodes true particularly for the Chinese global citizen, according to the report. In comparison to Australian respondents, Chinese respondents are more likely to rely on technology compared to face-to-face communication to find a sense of connection to a place. Despite the regional differences, there is no doubt technological advances have helped people feel more connected without necessarily being attached to their immediate environment.
Fixed address no longer – rise of the digital nomad
This has also led to a greater demand for a more flexible work-life, as global citizens are now craving the social and workplace freedoms and opportunities that come from connecting with the world.
Digital platforms and apps have made it possible for people to live a nomadic lifestyle; that is, being location independent, whilst still earning a living. According to founder and CEO of CloudPeeps, Kate Kendall, digital nomads are expected to make up 40% of the total workforce by 2020.
This move towards more flexible and remote work has meant people can take advantage of global marketplaces, creating incremental income streams and fueling the gig economy. Additionally, they can make use of the different time zones, lifestyles and cultures, without many of the communication barriers that once existed. A concept, that only a few decades ago wouldn’t have been possible.
Being part of a physical community is still an important aspect of life. Yet we are slowly changing from a world where we’re defined by our commonalities of place, to one defined by commonalities of work, goals and interests.
Creating global connectivity one app at a time
There are many examples of technology platforms that are playing a significant role in developing closer communities – abroad and closer to home – and fostering better interactions. From instant language translation to apps that connect people with other travellers or local hosts, people can now navigate the world with more ease and confidence.
In an evitable age of DIY travel, Cool Cousin is harnessing the knowledge of the local community. This platform is helping people turn to well-connected locals to find the most interesting places to go in many cities across the world, and offers curated city guides, travel recommendations and assistance.
“We are slowly changing from a world where we’re defined by our commonalities of place, to one defined by commonalities of work, goals and interests.”
Where the World’s Moving Global Report
From travel apps …
Similarly, Meetup is bringing people together to explore, teach and learn new things. From travellers looking to get involved in some of the local activities or to explore a new city, to people hoping to meet like-minded people or practice a new language, Meetup is highlighting the power of global connectedness.
As technology is making it easier for people to connect across the globe, it’s not surprising that 65% of respondents in the Where the World’s Moving report believe technology allows them to belong without being fluent in the local language.
… to language apps
Despite this, 65% of Chinese respondents and 70% of US respondents believe they need to be fluent in a local language to have a sense of belonging to a community, culture and place. This is where language-learning apps, such as DuoLingo have gained their popularity. Offering bite-sized lessons across 32 different languages, Duolingo is a convenient way for people to adapt and learn from other cultures, by removing important communication barriers.
Improved technology and the growing number of apps that have sprung to the market are helping people and businesses to work and travel together on a global scale. No longer limited by our location, we can now tap into local communities, make social connections, keep up with friends and family remotely and collaborate freely with like-minded people. The world is on the move and our concept of home is, now more than ever, largely shaped by our experiences and cultures, rather than our place of residence.
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