Four years ago, at the beginning of the social media frenzy, in a large lecture hall at Ohio University, a professor challenged all first-year journalism students to turn off their electronic lives for 24-hours. The room filled with gasps, rants and whispers: “How am I going to meet up with my friends?” “How am I going to check my e-mail?” “Wait. No computer, cell phone, television or music? What am I suppose to do in the mean time?”
You might think this is hilarious or catastrophic. Every student in the classroom was speechless and believed it was against the university policy. The professor challenged the students to focus on their coursework, develop relationships with their peers and read books.
For 24-hours students challenged themselves to avoid on-line distractions while doing their homework. Ah the life of a student, so difficult without electronics… but can you imagine your job without electronics today? What about doing your job today as it was 20-years ago?
For starters let’s think about what we have: e-mail, fast computers, media databases, Twitter, Facebook, and Wi-Fi. We’re living in a digital revolution. Compare that to 20-years ago when the internet and e-mail wasn’t available.
Working in a media related field was difficult. To send out a press release, it had to be mailed. Gathering contacts for a client required a phone book and a large rolodex. To edit film, stations used non-linear editing booths (although, to be fair, some stations still use it today). To type a document, dust off the typewriter and don’t mess up.
Work was clearly done differently before the advent of the internet and Web. 2.0 applications. Now we can use Twitter and other social media sites to pitch releases or use blogs to communicate with our audiences. Facebook and websites are now used as on-line storefronts selling products directly to consumers.
Digital media started a revolution and took our careers and lifestyle to a whole new level. Schools aren’t teaching the same basics anymore. Many classes are focused around the Internet; others on social media. The digital revolution changed the way we work and created new job opportunities.
How has your field of work changed over the past 20 years? We’d love to hear from you and even help get you moving in the digital revolution as well.