I confess I once called myself a Digital Evangelist. I had it on my LinkedIn profile and my business card.
I confess this was back in the post 2008 era and before the fateful 2016 Election when not everyone was as connected as they are today, Twitter was fun and it seemed as though digital could do no harm. I confess this was before we looked at digital as an “addiction.”
I confess I looked askance at my friends who turned their noses up at social media. I warned them if they did not catch up they would be left behind, unable to function in this new world. To a degree, I still believe that. We are past the point of digital literacy being a choice.
I confess I have made money explaining how to use these digital tools to market both in the private sector and at the University level as an Assistant Professor at NYU. I confess I believe in a digital-first approach to marketing. I believe anyone who wants a career needs to have a digital presence on LinkedIn…. yet……
I confess that sometimes I hate all things digital. I confess that the more I know about data and privacy and how much of our lives are being tracked the more I am convinced that something needs to be done to protect our individual privacy.
I confess that sometimes I long for that quieter, simpler world of my youth where I could go missing for hours on end without someone calling me on my cell or texting me and expecting me to respond immediately, when we were more concerned with living our lives than taking pictures of it to post on Instagram and boredom was an option.
I confess that my limited access to WIFI this past month has given me the shakes. I confess at times it leaves me feeling isolated with a FOMO – on what – I don’t know. I confess it also reminds me of how much more time is available to me when I can’t waste it scrolling through Twitter or Instagram or be interrupted by some text alert I was sure I had opted out of.
I confess that as I stand in front of a new crop of graduate students this week I will not be evangelizing this stuff. I confess we will discuss the strengths and the flaws and how important it is to remember these are marketing tools to connect with our customers but they are not replacements for real connection.
I confess that somedays I am sorry that I ever evangelized this stuff and then I remember.
As much as digital has changed EVERYTHING, so much remains the same. What digital has always been about is much more than SEO, keywords and social media followers. It’s about connecting and engaging – as it has always been IRL.
Human to Human.