The Vicar of Dibley is one of my favorite TV shows. It’s about a female Anglican priest named Geraldine Granger (played by Dawn French) who serves a parish deep in the English countryside. I was recently rewatching “The Christmas Lunch Incident” and there’s a scene where Geraldine is freaking out because it’s Christmas Eve and she still doesn’t have her sermon written. “Right, now some frightening facts,” she says. “It’s the biggest gig of the year. It’s a one-woman show. There’s 12 hours to go. I have no ideas at all.”
This is the second installment of our two-part series on digital communication (you can read part 1 here). In this post, we’ll be looking at challenges in digital communication, its social/emotional aspects, and the importance of being a good digital citizen.
Despite being a fundamental part of human existence, it can be easy to overlook the importance of communicating. After all, it’s all around us, from the fussing of a hungry baby to a billboard selling fulfillment through consumerism. It wasn’t long ago that most of humanity lacked any kind of platform beyond the people in their immediate vicinity. Now, however, many of us are just a few mouse-clicks away from being heard by the whole wide world. But while this affords us a wealth of opportunities, it also requires creators to demonstrate new levels of agility in order to succeed.
This is the second part of our series about digital literacy and the mastery of creating content online.
The Agony and the Ecstasy is one of my all-time favorite films. Based on actual events, it’s a lavish period drama about the relationship between Michelangelo Buonarroti (played by Charlton Heston) and Pope Julius II (played by Rex Harrison). Although Michelangelo considers himself a sculptor first and foremost, Julius forces him to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. This conflict highlights a dilemma that has bedeviled creators for centuries. Since they often needed the support of powerful patrons in order to create, the wishes of their patron often took precedence over their own. Thankfully, the digital age has tipped the scales in favor of creators. It’s now easier than ever for creators to produce work that aligns with their distinctive vision, but it also adds new challenges. Content creation in the 21st century requires a solid understanding of digital literacy. This article is the first installment of a two-part series looking at content creation.
The mimic is one of Dungeons & Dragons’ most iconic monsters. They are protean creatures that can take on the appearance of inanimate objects such as chests. If someone unwary attempts to open the chest, it springs to life and attacks. Savvy adventurers learn that not everything is as it seems, and they need to pay careful attention to their surroundings if they hope to avoid an ambush. Alas, the Internet can feel like a dungeon filled to the brim with mimics. Anyone can be taken in by misinformation or disinformation, which is why it’s imperative that we carefully evaluate the information we find online. This is particularly true if you’re an authoritative content creator, as drawing on false information will inevitably erode your credibility.
Whether you’re an influencer or an academic, having a solid online persona is essential. It’s the lens through which your readers will view your work, and just as you wouldn’t show up to a job interview in cutoff shorts and a t-shirt with a dirty joke, you also don’t want your online persona to undermine your credibility. My colleague Jason wrote an article on the subject last month, but today we’re going to look at some specific tips to help you perfect your online persona, including the use of curated pieces of content and the promotion of thought leadership.
In Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, the protagonists visit a monastery with a fabled library that’s reputed to have one of the best collections of books in all of Christendom. However, access to the books is strictly controlled. The library consists of a labyrinth of 56 different rooms. The tomes within are organized according to a complex system based on verses from the Book of Revelation, and the librarian and his assistant are the only ones with the knowledge to navigate it. Even if an outsider managed to sneak inside the library, they’d struggle to find anything specific. Moreover, the library is even rigged with traps to further disorient intruders. Searching the Internet can feel a bit like trying to navigate Eco’s labyrinth, and it can be easy to get waylaid on your quest for knowledge. Today, we’re going to talk about how to find knowledge effectively. This article is the first part of a larger series that aims to help creators level up their content through digital literacy.
The other day, I happened to be taking a virtual stroll through the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I was struck by a statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Horemheb that was carved before he ascended the throne. At the time of its creation in the 14th century BCE, Horemheb, (whose name can also be transliterated as ‘Haremhab’) was a high-ranking military officer, but you’d never guess that from looking at the statue. We might expect to see him depicted as a warrior with weapons at the ready; instead, he’s depicted as a scribe sitting cross-legged on the ground with a papyrus scroll laid across the front of his linen kilt.
I was recently watching an episode of Murder, She Wrote from 1991 where Jessica Fletcher (played by the late, great, Dame Angela Lansbury) was finally forced to abandon her trusty typewriter for a computer. This was treated as a Very Big Deal, and the store that sold her a new PC also ran classes to help new computer owners come to grips with their purchase. When we see her in class later in the episode, the other students complain about how mind-bogglingly difficult computers are, and many of them struggle to grasp the idea that computers might actually make their lives easier. To a modern audience, the whole idea of needing a special class to learn how to use a basic PC seems laughable, and many of the cutting-edge technologies that are mentioned in dialog are now about as outdated as the abacus (the salesman actually asks her if she wants a CD-ROM!). The episode is a relic of a bygone era when digital literacy was much rarer. Of course, teaching the characters in Murder, She Wrote about digital literacy was a fairly straightforward affair, but that’s not the case in 2023.
Hi there! It’s Jason Loch again. José asked me to do another post about my experience as a content creator, this time focusing on my interactions with my readers and how I’ve used their feedback to shape my online persona. These can be some of the scariest parts of being a creator. Not only is the Internet not known for kindness and charity, but feedback can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused.