5 years back the medium became the message, a couple of years down the line the people on the medium sort of also became the product in a blurry sort of way, but more or less the advent of social media ensured that defining media in silos became a thought best forgotten.
There are of course many still left grappling the hooks of traditional media. And they will remain. The advent of social and the scope of digital wouldn’t change habits and existing reach. We’re not looking at a world that replaces print or television any time soon. However, their manifestation might be vastly different from how they are now. And this might happen far sooner than many anticipate.
And this change would be possible because of digital.
Digital media is now coming out of their electronic hard shells and moving about among us. Social Media made us the medium, the future in digital will make us more than just interactive as such a medium for a message. As agencies and digital professionals we can’t just remain managing useless copies on search results and fan pages and tweets. It needs to go beyond, the value would be more evident. That’s why we need a more-than-interaction role in the larger brand play whether our own or those of a client brand.
This more-than-interaction should/would be fueled by brands or any organization which wishes to engage and use the power of people for its survival. This activity that we are looking at is an experience, crafted by a not very complex yet not all too simple use of various elements that make a person a consumer and a medium at the same time. Digital helps craft this interaction as an experience. That is the future of this medium.
Experiences are cherished, memorized and spoken about. They mean a lot more than mere interaction or engagement. They involve a whole lot more and stay longer. Experience builds a bond a very visible one in how the person reacts to the brand thereafter. And as digital percolates into the mainstream through the devices that we carry and also around us, the experience is a lot different than just a feeling (the Internet of Things). The publishing part of digital media then becomes a storehouse (the new Facebook timeline for instance).
Like I said before these experiences need to be crafted, it requires craftsmen. Companies like mine will need to build an ecosystem that either brings craftsmen together while taking custody of the brand’s objectives or better still seeds and cultivates craftsmen. That is the future of the agency, knowing crafts and bringing their proponents together while their own individual craft lies in tying all this together and measuring and improving and learning. For the digital professional of this decade of which the first year just ended, you have two choices – either carry the vision or become a crux to implement it.
We are in the age of digital, the age of experience.