Teen techo has become a leader in the digital world

HE IS not a multibillionaire, but at only 14 Jye Smith was building and selling websites.

True, it was for a couple of mates in exchange for the occasional free drinks.

But that teenage hobby became all-consuming as he realised just how powerful social media was.

The digital strategist from Sans Souci, who was nationally recognised in B&T's "top 30 under-30 leaders of tomorrow" last year, has a large following on his blog, where he shares his latest views on technology.

But when he blogged about deleting his Facebook account as an experiment, he realised it couldn't last.

"I needed a break, to see what it felt like to be disconnected," Mr Smith said.

"I had five years of data — 2000 photos, 1000 friends, many of whom I had no idea who they were.

"I found myself flicking through old photos and comments that didn't mean as much as they use to.

"Now I'm back; but only to a couple-of-hundred friends.

"Facebook is doing what it set out to do — connect with people.

"It doesn't matter how introverted you are, there is that very notion that we need other people around us to survive, and we can feel very isolated without that.

"Digital has a huge advantage in playing such a big role in our lives — from making decisions on holidays and buying a house, to what we'll have for lunch.

"I was talking to a very large company about how they were pulling money out of TV and into YouTube, and they said we would be done with keyboards in five years."

He said this was nothing compared with what kids of the future would be doing.

"Gen Y is one thing, but two generations under us, they're the ones to watch," he said. "How they will communicate will be scary to us."

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