Digital disruption has become a cliché. The realization that every industry must digitize in some way has sunk in, but now the question is: where do we stop? While some tools may be pertinent to your field as a digitally fluent PR pro, others can take more time than it’s worth to learn. For example, while a street-side necklace vendor may not need to know programming languages, it may work for them to use an Etsy account. For someone who knows their way around code, Etsy would be a simplistic choice.
From social media platforms to technological concepts, the ability to discern which resources are imperative to your industry is an important skill to develop.
We can all learn something new from the internet every day, but it’s daunting to know where to start, it’s all about what you are looking to accomplish. Here are a handful of tips that may help you decide what areas of digital fluency you can and should improve upon.
1. Follow tech news
Reading articles on tech news is one of the most effective ways to enhance your digital vocabulary and become digitally fluent. Concepts like PPC, SERP, bounce rate, backlink, organic vs. paid search and others are now important to know if you work in the media industry.
TechCrunch, VentureBeat, The Next Web, GigaOm, and Re/code are a handful of the most popular tech news publications that you can read. Each of these publications often link to the source, which are smaller, more specific blogs that you should follow to learn more about the respective topics. (For example, every data analyst should subscribe and become of a fan of one of my favorite author/bloggers on analytics, Avinash Kaushik.)
2. Take some basic coding courses
“Programming is the new literacy” is quickly becoming the mantra for an entire generation. Learning a new coding language means the difference between barely comprehending the issues clients may face and understanding the technology on which you may have to pitch, write about and explain. Do you need to code to pitch tech? Not strictly but it’s an excellent skill to develop that could help you in any current or future job.
3. Customize your workspace
Small changes to your workflow can make a world of difference to your productivity. The reality of the digital age is that there is always a new tool to make you work more efficiently. Here are some great Chrome browser extensions that will help you with streamlining your workflow:
- OneTab: close all open tabs at once and cache for later. In an agency, urgent tasks can arise and you often must table what you’re working on for later. This plugin is great for handling this, because it allows you to rename your closed session so you can remember exactly what you were working on.
- StayFocused: set daily time limits on how long you can spend on certain websites (e.g. Facebook, BuzzFeed). As a millennial, I admit to having an unhealthy and sometimes compulsory Facebook addiction. This plugin is Facebook rehab.
- Pocket: quickly save articles for later without tossing them into the nether of your bookmarks menu. Get the app on your phone, and digest those not-so-urgent articles on the commute home, rather than taking up time at work.
- Evernote Web: an elephant never forgets—and now, neither will you. Use Evernote to clip snippets of text, links, articles to read later. Fair warning though: organize everything early.
Not everybody has to be an HTML wizard or know all about tech to do a job well. Want to be one of the cool tech-savvy kids? If you work in media and want to stay current, these are just a few of the ways we think will help you get up to speed while helping you work better.