A friend recently said to me she wanted to learn more about digital marketing and the digital world in general. She asked what she should read and how I got so involved in it.
Her questions made me realise digital isn’t something you learn, it’s something you live!
I first got online in 1991 at university talking to people within my own campus and then across campuses. I also wanted to find out what was going on in The Bold and the Beautiful in the US (I was at uni, OK?) and the Soap News group was great for that! I was then meeting people through a friends group and talking to them on email (wasn’t I excited when they introduced PINE mail!), via news groups and then snail mail as well.
I met one of my best mates at uni when we got chatting to each other in separate computer rooms on campus. One day I missed the last bus home and he offered to give me a lift. Seventeen years on, we’re still really good friends, living less than 1km apart.
Over the years my online world and socialising have continued to grow. A friend I met online in the US came over to visit me 1997. I went on my first online date with RSVP in 1996/7 and was probably one of the first people to be on RSVP (not that it did my love life a lot of good).
I realised how normal this must be for me now because when I told my parents recently I met someone via a blog, they didn’t bat an eyelid.
This high level of personal involvement in the online world led to an interest and passion for it in my working world. I was involved in BigPond when it was still On Australia, helping with Springboard, Addicted to Noise and other Telstra forays into the online world back in the mid-late 1990s. I also helped to develop an online Youth Calendar for Telstra. I was fortunate enough to work for lastminute.com in London in 2000/01 and I now work in horse racing developing customer databases, social media and websites.
How did I get into it? Just by doing it – no one really gave me a text book, although I did do e-marketing as part of my masters. You learn about what you want to do online by trying out what others are doing, not by reading about it. You need to be:
- on Facebook or Twitter because this is predominantly where everyone else is
- putting your photos on Flickr
- checking out stuff on YouTube
- reading the paper online – this is where a lot of stuff happens
- viewing your competitiors’ websites
- checking out what the innovators are doing online, both inside and outside your industry
- doing most/all of your banking, transactional life online (I am currently on a mission to never go into a bank again – I haven’t set foot in one since 2003)
- researching and purchasing
- blogging yourself or contributing to blogs
- using an iPhone or Android or similar for mobile internet
- using an iPad (OK, I need to do this one for myself, but can’t justify the functionality for the price at this stage)
You don’t need to be doing all of these, but I suggest to get the most from your online experience you need to be doing at least three or four of them. Getting digital is all about doing digital – it’s very hard to create something you don’t understand or live.
If you want to get digital, you have to be digital.