Getting up close and personal with the digital revolution…

“It is difficult, indeed dangerous, to underestimate the huge changes this revolution will bring or the power of developing technologies to build and destroy- not just companies but whole countries.” Rupert Murdoch


According to Antony Mayfield, head of content and media at iCrossing UK, we are at the beginning of a digital revolution. I hyperventilated like an old media dinosaur until Antony reassured us not to be caught up by the technological side of this revolution but instead to concentrate on the human aspect- finding and following real people. Breathing a sigh of relief, it became clear I didn’t have to turn into a technical geek overnight but instead just interact with people.

I see web 2.0 as a gateway to a mass of people, networks and conversations, which provides an indispensable opportunity for the future of journalism. But without being able to interact with these people, it is pretty useless.

With more and more people becoming part of the big ‘conversation’ on the internet, the power has switched from being in the hands of big news companies to individuals. The digital revolution is increasingly giving ordinary people the power to chose what they need and want.

According to an article by the BBC:

“We are at a moment of opportunity and change. Technology, in gestation for 10 years through the first wave of digital, is about to bring to the heart of people’s lives a degree of choice and control which is still hard to grasp.

That in turn is changing the assumptions and behaviour of the public, from how they consume media to their expectations of public services and politicians. They will determine the future”

The internet, of course, opens many doors for journalists but it would be naive to think it provides these millions of people ‘on a plate’ eager and willing to consume what we decide. We need to remember that ordinary people make the internet what it is and as journalists for news organisations, we can only hope to be part of their conversations in order to produce more accurate and engaging copy.

Ultimately, this power shift means the public will read who and what they value and trust therefore we have to work hard to gain trust.

The question on every trainee journalist’s lips- how do we build trust, create a bond and most importantly interact with our online public?

Here it is- the how to guide to getting it on in the digital revolution:


Rule 1- Honesty and trust are crucial to any relationship.

Rule 2- “Ask not what your network can do for you, but what you can do for your network.” Antony Mayfield

Be useful- always put the user first, write for them, be to the point, make headings simple for search engine optimisation.

Rule 3- Understand your networks.

Rule 4- Be live in your networks. Get out what you want to say quickly because the joy of the internet means you can always add to it later.

Rule 5- Interact with people and listen closely to their needs and respond to them.

Rule 6- Be willing to share and collaborate. “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” Jeff Jarvis

Rule 7- Be flexible and open minded– we don’t know what the future of journalism is going to look like so the people who can embrace change and make the most of the opportunities it offers will benefit the most.


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