Visual Memo: Digital vs. Traditional – Part I – “All in Good Time”

As part of my freelance digital content writing work, I contribute to a Canadian media company based in Toronto: Moxy Planet Media. We’ve been working on a Digital vs. Traditional series, geared towards traditional producers and publishers who may be allergic to the idea of stepping through the digital doorway. Here is part one, which originally appeared here. Need some quick’n’dirty copywriting done for your own projects? Get in touch here.

LOST IN TRANSLATION – Digital vs. Traditional

by Samantha Mehra

In an ever-increasing digital world, those of us who cut our teeth and busted our chops on traditional modes of production see before us a world glowing with many question marks. What does ‘Producer’ even mean nowadays? Are we all ‘producers’ and publishers now? Where is my audience? Hello? What’s that gizmo over there? How’d they make that thing-a-ma-bob? Where is the doorway into Digital (with a capital D)?

Take a breath, and don’t worry. All you have to do is come to terms with one thing: The worlds of producing and publishing are changing, and it isn’t all bad. At our fingertips, we have more easy-to-use digital tools designed to: a) make our lives somewhat simpler; and b) spread our content across a wider, more tuned-in audience. But, as a result of the invention of these tools, the roles of everyone involved in the production has changed. For those transitioning out of traditional production, here are some things to wrap your head around before you can take the dramatic leap into the dynamic digital world.

One thing is for sure: It’s about time.

TRADITIONAL IS STATIC. DIGITAL IS DYNAMIC:

In traditional publishing and producing, content was set in stone. It had an ominous permanence that required a crack team of producers, writers, creators and editors and three or four (or a hundred) sets of eyes to make sure that product was absolute perfection before going on parade. It was static, statuesque, stuck in time. This is far from the case in the online world. With digital content, we can update, edit, retract, delete, republish, retweet, like, unlike, poke, block, unblock, and manipulate our content whenever we gosh darn feel like it. Our content is now a living, breathing thing that we can continue to reinvent at our whim.

THE JOBS THEY ARE A’CHANGIN’:

With digital content being so insufferably dynamic, it’s no surprise that copy editing and copywriting are less and less of a full-time job. There’s less emphasis on the initial quality of the content, because we can nip and tuck it at our command. And: In an information-rich online world, we need to remain relevant and exciting for an audience which is now constantly hungry for content. This need, coupled with the fact that our time has been freed up from the drudgery of copy editing, the digital world is more focussed on production itself. Making, sharing and monitoring are your full-time gigs now, girl.

GET READY TO CHIT CHAT:

The digital realm is relatively democratic; most people have access to online platforms and can immediately engage with the stunning content you’re producing. No more waiting around for letters to editors, or responding to customer feedback weeks beyond the fact. Digital producers and publishers have quick and easy access to the common folk commenting on their content, and can engage in discussions, give shout-outs, and right wrongs, whatever the case may be. The connection between producer and viewer has become far more intimate, and real-time, which is a huge plus for those struggling to find and/or understand their audiences.

WHEN IN DOUBT, SOUND IT OUT:

There is an irony in mentioning this in a cute blog post, but it has to be said: When it comes to digital content, producing audio and visual work is king. Consumers of online goodies are more and more interested in the quick’n’easy consumption of information, so there has been a significant decline in text. Want to reach an audience, and in a timely fashion? Go audio and video. According to a recent feature on digital content in the New York Times, “Photos, videos, graphics and more are taking over our online experience. And in response, companies and publishers are all pouring money into developing even more multimedia for us to consume.”

So, traditional producers: Time is of the essence in the digital sphere. Your ideas about work days, your content and its flow, and audience engagement have been turned on their heads. But never fear: In this online world, everything moves quickly, including your ability to learn, apply, and dazzle.

This article appears as part of the Lost in Translation series, articles devoted to bridging the gap between traditional and digital content and their producers. To stay up-to-date on this series, follow along here, or visit Moxy Planet Media.

Links: To read more about the prominence of visual and audio content in digital publishing, read this article on the subject: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/09/technology/the-rise-of-a-visual-internet.html

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