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21st Century Digital Boy

December 16, 2008

(This is a guest post from Peter Borrelli.)

“21st Century (Digital Boy)” cover
Image via Wikipedia

I can’t explain it
the things you’re saying to me
its going yayayayayayaya oh yeah

‘Cause I’m a 21st century digital boy
I don’t know how to live but I got a lot of toys”

– Bad Religion, 21st Century Digital Boy

As the year winds to a close, it seems like everyone is saying, “I can’t believe the year’s almost over. This year flew by!” I’m sure people have been saying it for quite a while (Side Note: I learned this weekend at the George Eastman House that Eastman was a proponent of adding an extra month to the calendar. The month would have been called Sol, and this was a concept primarily devised for the logistics of payroll administration), especially at the end of the year, but it’s not difficult to see why everyone is having a harder time than ever keeping up with life.

You might spend your free time catching up with your DVR, deleting junk mail from three different email accounts, staying on top of work email on your BlackBerry, updating your Facebook page, and so on. If you have a Twitter feed, you don’t want to leave your followers hanging for too long, or miss a cool link from a feed that you follow. Then you have to upload the pictures you took last weekend to your MySpace page, and get them printed out if you want hard copies (what?). At a certain point, you might even start to bemoan all of this technology and begin yearning for simpler times when you felt like you could actually have a chance of feeling some sort of control over what was going on in your life.

I try to keep all this in mind when I’m doing my job – which is trying to help our clients get messages across to people. When we talk about the examples above, you probably think about consumer audiences, but the audience our B-to-B clients try to reach are faced with the same issues. How do you feel when the phone rings while you’re doing work? How about when an email comes in that you have to deal with when you’re in the middle of something else? What about an all day seminar you have to attend the day before three different deadlines? See what I mean?

Bad Religion sounds a little prophetic now – we have to remember how easy it is for the messages we create to come across just sounding like “yayayayayayaya” when they float around in the cacophonous environment that is the byproduct of all of our 21st century digital toys.

It’s ironic though, that some of these toys can be tools that help our clients reinforce their brand position with messages of the utmost simplicity. Take a Twitter feed for example: What better way to ensure simplicity of your message than a 140-character limit? How do we know which toys to use and how many though? Whether it’s a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a blog written by the CEO, or all of the above – whatever you decide to use should have a clearly defined purpose and be guided by the pursuit of measurable goals.

Oh, and so none of you Bad Religion fans out there accuse me of being a tease, here’s the video for 21st Century Digital Boy.

Kinda funny that I used to stay up every weekend watching 120 Minutes
and Headbangers Ball taping music videos like this, and now they’re all cataloged for me on YouTube.


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