If the internet functioned like the United Nations, then delegates represent social media, app developers, androids and smart phones. The threat to virtual harmony is in being misunderstood. Effective digital translation (from old to new media) should be a millennial goal in the year of Web 3.0.
I can sum up my two months as an account executive in a digital agency with the following anecdote:
(In a meeting)
Boss: Can you pass me my notebook?
Me: (Passes an actual paper bound notebook)
Boss: I meant my MacBook…
Me: (Silence) Just kidding!
Colleague: We’re in a digital agency!
Me: I thought notebooks referred to tablets!
Illiteracy, as you can see, is a problem when we redefine traditional words like “notebook” or “like,”create new words like “tweet” and add even more complicated and dynamic CMS configurations (small achievement to actually know what that means now!)
Before I entered advertising, my experience with digital was centered on journalism. But by cross-referencing my short stints in both industries, I realized that even a democratic sphere like the internet is governed by guidelines. Just because we don’t see most of them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist and I think a problem is that we forget that they do.
From the people I’ve talked to about the industry, both in Manila and Singapore, the common sentiment is how illiterate and ignorant people are about the digital world — the clients, every day netizens and even people like me who’s in the business itself. But because new media is social in nature, then it will always be dynamic. Nobody knows what can happen, so we keep pushing these boundaries that are permeable to technology, culture and the kind of society we live in.
Because of this transition into the digital age, there’s a disconnect between what we say and do online and offline. But one day both realities might integrate and become one and the same. Personally, I don’t think new media should be called “new” because it implies that we’re leaving something behind and starting from scratch. Is there something to gain from keeping what made traditional media work and elevate it into the level of 3.0?
In the Social Media Summit I organized last December 2011 and my project thesis on internet-radio, I learned how the internet grants us more freedom, and in effect, more responsibility. Without digital interpreters or translators (which is how I like to look at my job), virtual sovereignty will be encroached. Let’s prevent any more misunderstandings over notebooks shall we?