There’s a reason why friendly digital is close to my heart and underscores everything I do. So, here’s why I started, and why I kept going – to make a difference. And also, to soften the boundaries between tech savvy people like website designers, digital marketers and data specialists, and the non tech savvy people.
I used to be non tech savvy, and some of you are in that space today. So, I understand how that must feel because I’ve been there, and walked in your shoes. That was a time when hearing the two-word duo ‘digital marketing’, did not make me smile.
I had felt lost, confused, ready to learn one day and completely discouraged the next. In fact, I used to look up the definition of a technical word I had come across and then find myself checking more words from that same definition. I had given up many times because I felt it was not for me. I could not imagine overcoming it and wondered if it was even really necessary to continue. On top of trying, I was also beating myself up for not understanding and executing fast enough. Comparing myself with others who were rocking it online gave me a complex.
So, yes, I have actually walked in your shoes, if I may reverse the old adage. I always remind people that, no, I was not born in the era of technology. Looking at me now, it may not seem that way, but I still remember the first time my teacher asked me to send an email with…wait for it…an attachment! I had no idea where and how the attachment went.
Another time, another era, I got my university exam results on a Minitel. Wikipedia describes the Minitel as a videotex online service accessible through telephone lines, and as the world’s most successful online service prior to the World Wide Web. But then, life and my career took me places. I travelled the world, adapted and found new ways of doing things and ‘organized’ myself. Technology came in very handy and I suddenly realized that it was making my life easier if used the proper way.
I started slowly adapting to technology. I found it fun and really revolutionary when it worked and nerve-racking and frustrating when it didn’t. (Read: not remembering my password, having weak Wi-Fi in some countries, encountering words like buffering and loading). Soon, uploading and downloading became part of my everyday life.
‘Digital literacy’ proved itself to be key for knowing how to utilize technology to interact with the world around me. Here, I’d like to point out that the meaning of digital literacy has evolved over the years. Where once people were proudly “proficient at Microsoft Word”, today, it is a skill that everyone assumes you already have and listing it on a resume is redundant. We have all moved towards a technologically savvy workforce.
And this is how my concept of ‘friendly digital’ began, years back. I started helping friends, elderly people, and coworkers to overcome their apprehension towards technology. It’s not like I knew everything either, but whenever I needed help, I asked the IT person at work and later in my life, my husband. What is this? How does it work?
Then, I opened my agency, initially, to be that person people could trust in the field of technology. Later with my vision of friendly digital, my mission was to encourage and empower others to learn, change and adapt to the digital space. After all, what does it really mean to ‘go’ digital – as an individual, and as a business owner? Here are a few handy hints if you want to know how to become tech savvy.
I believe that even if you’re not the one using digital technology, you need to understand how it works and how you can use it, in order to not feel left behind or excluded. Sure, someone else can execute, but you know what they are doing.
Friendly digital came to life with a “this is it”, even though I had been doing it all along. Why friendly? Because of some synonyms that matter:
Kind, beneficial, familiar, accessible, favorable, good, helpful, loyal, on good terms – DIGITAL. This works, don’t you think?
Since then, I own it! Through friendly digital, people understand, reach out and dare to ask questions (no question is stupid) and they realize that:
1. ‘Everything is figureoutable’ (from Marie Forleo)
2. They want to feel ‘relaxed’ about it (the vision word of Elizabeth Gilbert we should all aspire to)
3. Google is your best friend. When in doubt, ask Google.
Google is a powerful tool. However, there is a world of difference between finding an answer and understanding why. So then, the aim is to make digital user-friendly. Because “if something, especially something related to a computer, is user-friendly, it is simple for people to use.”
With friendly digital I am the missing piece, the trusted advisor filling the gaps, answering all the questions you never got an answer to before. It is about a user-friendly experience with the push of a button. The simple, easy and friendly way.
Let me give you an example. There are certain technical words for which it is impossible to find a simpler synonym. With friendly digital, you will be able to understand and explain in simple words what it means. In fact, simplicity is the key to everything.
And slowly this is what I did – first for me, to learn, keep track, not get discouraged and to feel that I was actually growing and getting ahead with my knowledge. That exhilarating feeling of freedom! Then I did it for others – as an encourager and change-maker, helping others with a nurturing, flexible and simplified approach.
Friendly digital is what I strive to do – explaining digital marketing terms the simple, friendly way and demystifying what this is all about. It also means giving you ways and means to understand, sensibilizing to the ‘there is no one solution fits all’, helping you apply concepts on your own and empowering you to realize you can do it and grow your knowledge online every single day.
The learning curve is unavoidable and it is better to start now. The ever-evolving world of technology can either help you succeed or hold you back. I really encourage you to find answers to your questions and to keep learning. A lot can be achieved in 12 months from now – if you start today. Overcoming 1 digital marketing challenge a week means 52 answers at the end of the year!
How has digital knowledge transformed your life? What continued digital learning tools or processes have you applied in your life and career? I’d love to hear more about your experience.
Let’s speak friendly digital together!