Drop the Digital – Please.

Drop the Digital – Please.


It’s time to drop Digital from everything.

Digital Humanities. Digital Marketing. Digital Branding. Digital Agencies.

Just stop. Now.

Because Humanities are Humanities, not Digital Humanities. Marketing is Marketing, not Digital Marketing. Agencies are Agencies, not Digital Agencies.

You get my drift.

Several long-standing local agencies have recently “rebranded”, in order to emphasize digital as (somehow) something now key to their DNA (as opposed to whatever they were made of for all the years prior). I saw a similar phenomena happen fifteen years ago, when companies rushed to be identified as dot-coms, by adding “.com” to their company’s DBA, or even changing their incorporated name.

And we saw how long that lasted.

Digital is being used solely to signal that a channel, brand, or entity is somehow better plugged into the “nowness” of whatever line of thought, study, or business is being pursued, than their competition.

And that’s just so much snake oil.

You want to be seen as an effective marketer? Then deliver results for your clients and companies from your knowledge of marketing. That digital moniker won’t cover up your inability to market. Or magically make you a better marketer.

In five years time (if not now), using the term digital humanities will be embarrassing to have on your academic vitae, rather than have it signaling some sort of fuzzy and ill-defined competency to those that (perhaps) want to appear to not be uninformed (but hold your hiring decision in their hands).

And, if you were to engage an agency to help with a launch, a product line, or a new campaign – and they didn’t know how to effectively operate in digital channels – then you’re the rube. They shouldn’t have to have digital in their byline or tag for you to understand that digital is an important – but not the defining – aspect of a reputable agency.

Obsolescence is a part of the natural order of things. Technologies come and go. You want to become dated long before your time? Affix specific technology or terminology to your iconography, branding, or copy.

Like, say, prepending digital to every job title.

Digital is the new normal. Not the new hotness. Not the differentiator.

The new normal.

Which means, it deserves no commentary.

So, the next time you’re tempted to use digital as the mechanism by which you convey expertise to those you’re trying to influence, stop.

Evaluate your true value and strengths.

Communicate that.

And then do a replace all on your existing copy, stop that business card order, and work on things that matter.