The Age

picture-18They say the key to writing passionately is to write about your passions.  So while I lead Digital work at a UK PR firm, this blog may extend wider than that already expansive area.

Shakespeare said when sorrows come they do not come in single spies but in battalions, but so does change.  And don’t I know it.  In the last year I met the love of my life, moved in with her, became engaged, gained a stepson, moved jobs and the UK economy hit recession.

So when people talk with nervousness about how firms can adapt to embrace the age of Generation X; the internet as the driving force of marketing; and social media becoming more important than media organisations, I say, put down the pie charts and just stop panicking.

Change isn’t so hard to achieve because those needed to make the change aren’t the experts with crazy re-invent the wheel ideas, it’s everyone else with small simple steps.  And sure that might include you, but if you can do it anyone can, right? 

At the moment you have the digital or online specialists in any firm who grew up obsessed with the net and can walk its many paths and do spend much of their daily life pounding those paths.  

Then you have those who used the net like regular Joes until sometime in the last decade, when through circumstance or desire, they crossed the bridge from just checking their facebook to being able to recommend sites, webtools and social networks. And these people became labelled as the online experts by friends or colleagues

Some of those people that worked hard enough at it, were even able to harness their own relative expertise and the more extensive expertise of those more natural specialists to create whole digital departments.  These departments were then frequently wheeled out to evangelise to the rest of the firm and clients about what the web could help achieve.

Finally, there is everyone else.  These are all the remaining people in any firm if asked to talk about online outreach or a digital campaign, who would say, “Why don’t you ask…”

And so they should, as it hasn’t been their job to know these things!    

But, if their boss came to them and said in order for you to make the next pay grade, you need to go on to facebook and update your status each day, would they? Sure.

Why? Because it is not a hard thing to do and they already know about facebook or are on it, and the boss said, do it or else.

So I say don’t panic, because the answer to entering the “digital age” is for whole companies to get every employee to do it through simple, small steps. It means getting involved, prescribing practical actions for every person in a firm. Even the people who would never consider themselves online experts. 

Of course firms can adapt to this new age, because individuals can adapt.  So, if in one year I can get hitched, change jobs and gain a stepson, then anyone else can make a few simple changes.

If I may suggest some for all those that presume they “don’t do digital”:

a) join a forum that interests you and post a comment  

b) upload a video to a sharing site

c) join twitter and retweet something cool.  If you can’t do these things just ask someone in your online department how. In the future you will need to know how to do this, especially if your firm is heading in the right direction.

When everyone in the company is doing basic online work, and the Head of Digital and current specialists are instead busy working hard to ensure the health and progress of the overall business, then you will have hit the jackpot.  But if everyone in the company isn’t expected to join in the digital age, then you aren’t asking enough of the company.

Now I’m going to heed my own words and try and help my company truly embrace the age ahead which is the age we are already in!

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