What is the importance of digital media?

Everything we see on the web through mobiles, the tablet PCs and obviously laptops and desktops is a part of digital media. In other words, it is the electronic information shared via technology as mentioned above consoles in a way so that data appears attractive and informative to the end-users. The world of digital media is booming by the day, and so does the urge of businesses to expand it more, gaining them maximum monetary benefits. This specific urge calls for more and more advancements concerning creating and developing fresh content, whether in the form of websites that aim at branding businesses or in the form of online newspapers and magazines.

Innovations in technology, particularly in digital media, increasingly are changing the way people use Media, Entertainment & Information (MEI) services. More than this, the very fabric of daily life is being altered. People are interacting and connecting with each other in different ways. Their sensibilities and psychologies are changing. Blurring boundaries between private and professional lives and the hunger for immediate information are driving online connection time. Trust in individuals’ relationship with digital media has become an increasingly prominent issue. In some ways, new generations are leading the evolution in changing behaviour, but in others, older generations are “catching up” surprisingly quickly.

But within just the past few years, the importance of digital marketing has become something else. It’s become an integral part of what a business is to its customers. It’s no longer enough to have a website or run some un-focused Ads campaign. Don’t have integrated digital marketing strategies working for your business? Time is working against you because of it.

As the internet becomes entwined with everything we do, the importance of digital marketing is becoming crystal clear.

How is Digital Media evolving in our Lives?

For anybody to get used to anything, it is important to adapt to it completely. With the internet almost at its peak state, digital media like domains are all set to be a part of personal lives. Whether in the form of education material like e-books for schools, universities or corporate e-learning or any kind of audiovisual clips concerning a documentary film etc. among others, all act as a digital media. Even the top publication houses are entering into digital media concepts to promote their books and other reading and informative stuff to their customers. Thus, inclination from the old standard form of reading to the electronic one has given a drastic impact on people in terms of getting aware of the advantages of digital media.

Digital media facilitates social interaction and empowers people

Digital media connects people in ways never before possible, enabling users to maintain friendships across time and distance. It enables those who are socially isolated or somehow set apart from their immediate physical community to connect with like-minded or like-situated people. Digital media also facilitates interaction across social, economic, cultural, political, religious and ideological boundaries, allowing for enhanced understanding.

Many people access social media platforms to express empathy and receive support from friends and family, including in times of emotional distress. This enriches people’s relationships and their ability to stay in touch and the ability of friends and family to identify and help loved ones in need. According to a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, the use of social technology is linked to having a greater number of close confidants, as well as a larger, more diverse social circle. Another Pew survey showed that 57% of teens state they have made a new friend online, and 83% state that social media makes them feel more connected and informed about their friends’ lives.

Social media can help to deepen relationships and facilitate the formation of support networks – 68% of teen social media users have received support on these platforms during tough times.

A study by Vaughan Bell and colleagues found that adolescents’ use of social networking sites enhances existing friendships and the quality of relationships for those who use digital social networks to deal with social challenges. Those who use online social networks to avoid social difficulties, however, tend to exhibit reduced well-being.

By facilitating social interaction, digital media also appears to lower stress for at least some users. A separate Pew Research Center survey in 2015 of 1,801 American adults concluded that digital media users do not have higher levels of stress than others. This makes sense, especially for those who perform knowledge work and are aided by the greater access that digital media provides to colleagues and information. Moreover, Pew researchers found that digital media actually mitigated stress for women who use Twitter, email and cell phone picture sharing to build relationships. The same study did find, however, that digital media makes some people more aware of stressful events in others’ lives, resulting in higher reported levels of tension. 

Digital media can facilitate education and life-long learning to build and source the skills of the future

The World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Education project identifies critical skills for the 21st century and explores ways to address any gaps through digital platforms. The labour market increasingly demands higher-order skills, i.e. non-routine analytical and interpersonal skills. Literacy in information and communications technology and competencies such as creative problem-solving and collaboration are among the most important. Also, character qualities such as adaptability, and social and cultural awareness need to be developed. Building digital skills from an early age provides opportunities to navigate life, improve employability and participate in society successfully – which can help make the world a better, more equal place. Increased use of digital media is helping this process.

Employees need to be more flexible to adapt to changing requirements and continuously learn and develop new skills. Global Talent 2021, a study by Oxford Economics in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, among others, identified digital skills, agile thinking skills, interpersonal and communication skills, and global operating skills as the most important competencies for the future.

Digital leadership (enabling execution of the digital strategy) based on digital understanding is essential. Managers and leaders need the right knowledge and skills to recognise and anticipate digital trends, understand implications for business and leverage technology to stay abreast. However, only 19% of leaders are viewed as strong in digital leadership and management, a Harvard Business Review study published in 2015 found, so a need exists to develop such skills.

Digital media and technology can help to close skill gaps by supporting teaching and self-education. Learning resources can be made available to a broader audience at a lower cost and higher quality. Digital media can be used to facilitate life-long learning, e.g. through embedding learning technology in widely used platforms or using digital media for communication (e.g. teaching, mentoring and coaching) between students and educators. Digital media also is increasingly used for attracting and sourcing talent, especially young, digitally savvy workers. Diverse cross-industry talent pools might be another way to meet the need for new skills while offering growth opportunities to employees.

Digital media gives people a voice, increases civic participation and facilitates the creation of communities

While traditional media has long been central to informing the public and focusing public attention on particular subjects, digital media is helping to amplify the response to humanitarian crises and to support those afflicted by these crises. During the Arab Spring of 2011-2012, digital media served as a vehicle to mobilise resources, organise protests and draw global attention to the events. Through digital media, users around the world collected $2 million in just two days for victims of the Nepal earthquake of 2015. Refugees fleeing the war in Syria have cited Google Maps and Facebook groups as sources of information that helped them to not only plan travel routes but also to avoid human traffickers.

Digital media has also enhanced information sharing across the world, giving people much greater access to facts, figures, statistics, and similar, allowing that information to circulate much faster. This not only enables people to respond in real-time as events unfold but also helps to expose political corruption and unfair business practices. For example, when a pharmaceutical company made plans to raise the price of a particular drug by more than 5,000%, outrage spread quickly through digital media, forcing the company to reverse direction.

Digital media is also allowing people around the world to build communities, organise activities and make their voices heard on a multitude of issues. Through online petitions and charities, people across the cybersphere can act on causes about which they care. Change.org, which helps individuals to start petitions and advance their objectives, has enabled more than 123 million users to attain their own goals on almost 15,000 issues in 196 countries, according to its website.68 Avaaz.org is another example of a platform with the aim of enabling people to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.69 Through the site Witness.org, thousands of activists and citizens around the world have been trained and supported to use video safely, ethically and effectively to expose human rights abuses and fight for change.70 For refugees currently coming to Europe, websites and applications such as refugees-welcome.net, refugee-action.org.uk and workeer.de are helping coordination of action among people who are physically dispersed.

Similarly, digital media is helping people to support chosen causes financially. According to a report by Blackbaud, a non-profit software and services provider, online giving is growing, particularly in response to humanitarian disasters.71 Websites such as #GivingTuesday, YouCaring.com, JustGiving.com and DonorsChoose.com are funnelling donations from millions of donors to the causes of their choice. Of course, the ease with which individuals and organisations can build and disseminate communications on different issues and crises also creates the risk of weakening long-term support as users are bombarded with information or requests for help on more issues than they can handle. Additionally, an instrument for a good cause can also be used for a bad one.

Studies examining the impact of digital media on civic engagement have had mixed findings. Exploring the effects of social networking sites on offline behaviour, a 2015 meta-study by Shelley Boulianne of Grant MacEwan University in Canada found that while the correlation between the use of social networking sites and election-campaign participation is weak, the relationship with civic engagement is stronger. 72 However, research indicates that messages on social media can significantly influence voting patterns. A study of the impact of particular messages posted on Facebook and promoted by friends on Election Day during the 2010 elections in the USA “increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly by another 280,000 voters through social contagion, for a total of 340,000 additional votes”. This suggests that online political mobilisation works, but it raises the issue of potential manipulation of digital media users and their political action, even when considering that digital media platforms give the opportunity to identify and challenge instances of manipulation.

This report’s research into the impact of digital media on civic participation also reveals mixed findings. At the same time, a majority of respondents to the Implications of Digital Media Survey in China and Brazil say that digital media has had an overall positive effect on their civic participation, a less-robust percentage of respondents in South Africa, and even smaller percentages in the USA and Germany.

Similarly, respondents in Brazil (47%) and China (36%) are more likely to have taken action on a political or social issue because of something read on a social networking site, than are respondents from South Africa (22%), Germany (25%) or the USA (12%). Across the five countries, about one out of five respondents use social networking sites to share political information or encourage action on political issues a few times per week.

Say Goodbye to Paper and Hard Copies

One thing that has dramatically changed with the advent of digital media is the fact that paper is not wasted anymore. People are becoming more technology-oriented and keeping that fact in mind, the world of digital media is booming at a faster pace.

Digital media is changing how work gets done, boosting productivity and enhancing flexibility for workers and employers

Digitisation of content and data, as well as new digital communication technologies, have opened up novel opportunities for where, when, how, and by whom work gets done. This is changing the nature of the employment relationship. Many jobs now can be done anywhere, at any time, facilitated by the availability of digital data, high-speed internet, and better messaging, audio and video technology.

Digitisation is a major enabler of this trend, with one-half reporting that the internet and mobile are “very important” to allow them to do their job remotely, and another 24% saying that these tools are “somewhat important”.

This same study also found that 46% of employed internet users feel their productivity has increased because of their use of the internet, email and mobile or smartphones; only 7% feel less productive. Half of the internet-using workers say these technologies have expanded the number of people outside their company with whom they communicate; 39% state it allows them more flexibility in the hours they work, and 35% say it has increased the number of hours they work.

The changes in work that digitisation and digital media have facilitated bring several advantages for workers, employers and society at large. Beyond enhanced productivity, the greater flexibility afforded by digital media allows for better work-life integration – a critical element in enabling workers to effectively juggle multiple roles as workers and caregivers. On a larger scale, higher work flexibility is helping to equalise and globalise work opportunities for people living in remote areas, those who are less mobile, or living in countries with less developed or struggling economies.

Organisations can and should use digital media to communicate and engage with employees. Social enterprise tools are well suited for developing community within a company. Yet only 56% of employers use digital media to communicate with employees on topics such as organisational culture, team building or innovation, a Willis Towers Watson study found.

Managers, still one of the most important drivers of sustainable employee engagement, should be enabled to use social business and collaboration tools to intensify employee productivity and engagement.

Talent platforms, like Upwork, Topcoder and Tongal, are facilitating the placement of free agents with companies and giving them additional options for getting work done. In the emerging “gig economy”, workers might no longer hold full-time jobs with fixed job descriptions but could be employed for particular tasks for a defined period of time.

Even as digitisation enables the greater democratisation of work, it also places a premium on certain types of work (particularly those involved in the development, manipulation and leverage of technology and data). A McKinsey & Company study suggests that employers worldwide face a potential shortage of 38-40 million skilled workers and a potential surplus of 90-95 million low-skill workers by 2020.

The People Within Your Company Are More Approachable to Potential Customers/Employees

Social media does not stop at just Facebook and Twitter. Creating a company profile on LinkedIn is a great way of introducing your business to a professional audience and enables you to give a detailed description about your company type, industry and other useful information for potential customers to take into consideration. An interesting article written for Forbes by Kate Harrison states that businesses that use social media are ‘humanised’ and that social media strays away from the ‘corporate machine’ image that follows many modern companies.

To stray away from the corporate machine image, even more, many companies opt for each of their employees to have a personal LinkedIn profile. This is an effective way of enabling potential customers or clients to see who they are working with on an individual basis, and gives them the opportunity to discover relevant information that could be a deciding factor as to whether they choose to work with the company or not (where your staff have previously worked, their education history etc.) There is also a direct message option on LinkedIn which would allow a potential customer to send a quick and convenient message to individual employees of the company, rather than an email or phone call to the main office.

It Will Allows You to Keep up With the Appetites of the Modern Consumer

There’s no denying that the introduction of tablets and smartphones into our lives has made us more contactable than ever, and consumers are now buying more products on the go than ever before. Going digital and introducing social media and mobile apps/websites to your business will make sure that your company keeps up with the modern-day consumer (or potential customer) and maximises profits along with keeping your customers satisfied. In an interview with Marketing Magazine, Pierre Perron of Sony Mobile states that the most exciting development in the mobile space is the consumer’s appetite to use new things and that ‘keeping up with consumer appetite is key to Sony’s mobile successes.

Using Social Media Will Increase Company and Brand Awareness Immensely

The use of social media within your marketing campaigns will bring in and maintain a younger, ‘fresh’ audience for your business. The increase of mobile technology means that many potential customers now check their social media sites dozens of times per day and using this to your company’s advantage will maximise profits and be instrumental in getting your business’ brand and message out there. In his article ‘What happens when you get 1.3M likes on Facebook?’

Increased Interaction With Customers

Going digital makes it so much easier to interact and communicate with new and existing customers. Using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter allows customers to give their feedback on their experiences of your company and reassures them that their valued opinion is being heard and understood.

If a customer is engaged with your company, then they are more likely to return to your company again and again. As we all know, a happy customer is much more beneficial to a company than an unhappy one, and having an increased level of interaction with your customers through social media channels will increase customer satisfaction and have a higher chance of increasing company revenue.

It is also interesting to note that while social media is instrumental in the spreading of positive news, customer’s negative experiences can spread across the internet at an incredible speed, so it is worth making sure that the member of staff that is interacting with customers over social media is trained in social media etiquette.

It Will Allows You to Keep Track on How Your Business is Being Represented Online

The introduction of social media into the world has made communicating our views and opinions online a much easier experience which can have an impact on a much larger scale. However, this also means that any negative opinions or experiences that customers have had with your business can be seen across the globe in a matter of minutes. Take this, for example, a video that was posted on YouTube of a FedEx employee carelessly throwing parcels into a delivery truck has been viewed over two million times!

Without being on social media, your business will be unable to respond appropriately to anyone discussing a bad experience that they have had with you. Obviously, it is impossible to stop the negative view from spreading across the web, but monitoring it and responding to comments when necessary will help to keep it under control. It also means that you can contact any unhappy customers and attempt to resolve the situation.

Digital media includes online newspapers, magazines, brochures, e-books, collateral or as a matter of fact, even white papers. Meaning, one can reach out to any of the sources as mentioned above of information with just an effective computer device in hand. Read newspapers and magazines while travelling without missing any single second news. This is how digital media advances in our daily lives and on that note prove to be a beneficial tool for the upcoming technology world.

Digital media is becoming the need of the hour with more and more businesses, whether educational or non-educational ones are entering into the domain rapidly.

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