Digital communicators need to keep learning

To be a good digital communicator is to be a lifelong learner.

The digital landscape keeps changing. Google alters its search algorithm; new services and platforms are released; user devices and expectations evolve; web standards develop; a new version of HTML or CSS is released; the legislative context shifts as the EU’s cookie laws are implemented. This means that our practices – and our instincts – need to be forever questioned and improved.

The toolkit of digital competencies isn’t a static box of best practice to absorb once and for all. Certainly there are some good foundations to acquire – an inquisitive, analytical mind; instincts for storytelling and visual design; a conceptual understanding of how the internet and websites work; an enjoyment of play, discovery and exploration; a logical approach; knowledge of HTML, CSS and any of the other web languages.

But the core digital competencies are inquisitiveness and an enthusiasm to engage in discourse with other people trying to understand and shape the digital landscape. A restlessness and a desire to figure out how things can be done – or could be done – better. A desire to understand what works and what doesn’t – particularly when evidence is hard to come by, and an open evangelism to share the results.

I find that making sense of the world around me by producing openly shared media is the best way for me to learn. Publicly sharing my thoughts as I try to work through them helps me formulate them more clearly. Working like this is a vulnerable position to be in; and sharing living work-in-progress rather than thoughts that are ‘finished’ means that I won’t always be ‘right’. Rather, I hope to be stimulating and encouraging.

In my posts here, I hope, by learning aloud, and in conversation with others, to help develop our knowledge of digital communications.