For a time, it seemed the more I learned, the less I seemed to know. When the moment arrived where my knowledge seemed to be catching up with the teachings, a feeling of joy and triumph over washed my exasperation at what started as a vast unknown. I have since learned that a similar feeling is shared amongst beginners of new media practice; another relief.
Receiving a High Distinction in my university subject ‘Convergence and New Media’ in 2004 has serendipitously lead me to become a proudly self-confessed geek and the new media department at the PR agency where I now work. Over the past 15 months I have attended lectures, seminars, workshops, Surry Hills social media breakfasts and read as many articles about new media as my brain can cope with at the end of a work day. Perhaps I have just never noticed it before but for me, the manifestation of new media is the most verbose I have ever seen in my 25 years in this world.
I have witnessed trends and spikes in experiential and online marketing, ‘viral’ campaigns and indeed in the growth of PR as an industry itself but not in such a pretentious manner that web 2.0 and social media has proliferated. I have also learned that this growth is not as sudden as it may appear to be to the web 2.0 newbie with developments and social networks existing for some years now (yes, Twitter is now a toddler at three years old). Although I do empathise with those who think these are new platforms as we have only just received mass newspaper column inches and air time dedicated to new media in very recent times.
A defining moment in my new media love affair was being labelled a “true geek chic” by one of my Twitter followers who happens to be a tech journalist. My scrapbook (not quite yet a portfolio) of new media knowledge and achievements has developed a great interest and hunger for more. The propensity for magnificent communication, enabled by technology and new media concepts excites me in a way that is perhaps verging on profane.
Witnessing the issues that have arisen for the brave who have gone before us to publicly practice new media, it is evident that there is still much to be defined and decided. Ethical and corporate guidelines, issues of intellectual property and copyright have no doubt put the fear of the public into many PR, marketing and communications professionals who are only too aware of public hangings for ‘bad practice’, e.g. the arraignment of Naked communications for their jacket ‘lie’. Although we can’t ignore the wins for new media – blogs as valuable sources of information, Facebook for event organisers, Twitter news from plane crashes and the great sense of community social media has forged for many groups, followers and subscribers.
The opportunities web 2.0 has presented many individuals, groups and businesses still surprises me and I am keen to be a part of this phenomenon in as many ways as I can…although holding down a full time job and being a major player in new media is still a slight obstacle I am still trying to navigate.