Lets get digital – Signing off

This is my last digital column for Local Matters as I’m about to put the local into global in a physical, not just digital, way. It gives pause for reflection on what has, and hasn’t, changed in digital media and here at localmatters.co.nz since I joined seven years ago. So here are my top digital tips.

  • Local still rules: Working for my local paper was convenient while raising a family, but after a career in daily news and online media I was craving for community and real life interaction. It’s not surprising to see a rise in #hyperlocal in our over-saturated social and mass media world.
  • Dance at work: I serendipitously crossed paths with a friend and colleague Helen Baxter when I first ventured into online media a decade ago. She encouraged me to work to live, instead of living to work. I wished I could clone her, so was stoked when she released a creative business toolkit danceatwork.net.
  • Be social: I’m often asked, ‘what do social marketers do other than play on their phone and talk buzzwords?’ There is truth to this, but it’s also hard work keeping up. I’ve learned to not be bedazzled by graphs and marketing speak, just be real and responsive. Often the best person for social media is the most social person in the room.
  • Usable and accessible: These are those buzz words, but ones worth learning. It’s like the old journalism rule, KISS – keep it simple, stupid. It’s easy to get caught up in your vision, but making your digital offering easy to use should be your guide. Luckily, paying attention to accessibility guidelines, so sight and hearing impaired can use it, is the first step to usability. Our youngsters have zero tolerance, plus our aging population are becoming the biggest consumers.
  • Share and share alike: We live in a world of shareable media converging with copyright. I believe in both. I also believe in choice and am proud to be part of Creative Commons Aotearoa NZ, providing tips and tools to legally share, use and reuse content online at creativecommons.org.nz
  • Content is king: As digital media grew it was fascinating watching a scramble for clickbait headlines and then an engaged audience. Behind the headlines are real people living in real communities. Real stories will always hit the mark whether it’s served up in print, online, social media or virtual reality. If you care about the future of independent press, please continue to support your local paper, our website and digital offerings, including our business directory and video journalism.