Reinventing yourself in the digital age

by Annabelle Olivier

How did I end up here?

Ah, life with all its unexpected twists and turns. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I’d be taking a class in digital content creation at McGill I would have laughed. “You’re hilarious,” I’d have said.

But then I’d be curious. “What am I doing there? What happened to my fashion career?”

That same someone would answer: “Well your industry was downsized and outsourced to China; there were a lot of casualties. Also you had kids – and stayed home with them.”

“Didn’t I stay on top of things,” I’d ask incredulously?

“You did,” they’d say. “You even taught yourself to embed micro-controllers into clothing. You were fascinated with smart clothing and its possibilities.”

Led hoodie: Shows you the way while keeping you toasty.

“So what happened?”

“You didn’t really plan for the brutality of online applicant tracking systems. It’s common knowledge that they kill 75 per cent of job seekers’ chances of landing an interview as soon as they submit their resumes, despite how qualified they may be. That and you have a large gap in your resume.”

“Hmmm, so why I am at McGill?” You haven’t answered that question yet.

“You’re taking digital content creation to reinvent yourself.”

“Lovely. Could you be more specific though?  I’m not sold on it yet.”

Patiently that someone would answer: “If you pay attention in class, you will learn that people are being bombarded left and right, 24/7 with online content. You will learn that not all content is created equal. You will learn that by writing short, fast, and well, you will create content that users want to read.”

They’d continue: “If you pay attention, you will also learn that written content is as important as graphic design and website architecture in determining usability.  The wrong icons, the wrong spacing and the wrong words will all drive users elsewhere. After all, they’re just a mouse click away from something better.”

“And finally,”  they would say with authority: “If you pay attention, you will remember to think before you write. Always ask yourself who you are writing for and why?

To that I would no doubt have said “thank you,” and walked away contemplating the brave new world awaiting me. A world where trained content producers  play a vital role in creating meaningful digital content.

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6 thoughts on “Reinventing yourself in the digital age

  1. I love the Q and A format for making all your points. You deliver lots of interesting and useful information. Very strong on the assignment part — what you hope to take away from this class.

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  2. Definitely a great conversation to have with whatever company we work for as marketers, but the distance between perception of what we do as digital marketers (right content, tone, timing, channels) and what is expected (more followers, more clicks, more often) is a real challenge to communicate, at least in my experience. Can we really tell our bosses that we “know better” (even though we do)? 🙂
    -Marc

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  3. Annabelle, I like it a lot! Your style is just so personal. It seems like a casual conversation about such an important topic. And your closing argument let it clear what is the added value to be trained. Congrats! -Victor

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  4. Not only did you parachute in, but you dropped us straight into your mind! Great conversational storytelling technique throughout. You added just enough of a sense of humour and with every question, kept us engaged because we could relate to your situation. Good questions – great answers!

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