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Digital and its identity crisis issues

Aren’t you sick of hearing that word over and over again? At every briefing, every brainstorming session and on every media plan? It’s like an epidemic really. No one really understands it, and everyone seems to claim an authority. It’s like a faceless virus that is affecting different parts of the industry in differently. Some have the social media fever; others have banner dysentery, some have technology nausea and worse happens when you catch the viral. And collectively, we call this disease – DIGITAL.

You know what stops a lot of talented folks in the communication business from thinking in the lines of interactive? It’s the fear of being ‘Tagged’ digital. And mind you it’s not a classification, it’s a segregation of people. People who are brought in to sprinkle the magic of online on to an idea that was never meant to be a conversation in the first place. That is why you have TV commercials running before every YouTube video, proving to be nothing more than annoyance for the audience. Why don’t you get it? If people wanted to see your ad, they would come and search for it themselves, or a friend would tell them to do so. How can you expect to woo customers by pissing them off? How does that even make any sense?
Which by the way is a wrong way to go about it. It’s like having the biggest diamond in the world, and using it as a tool to cut glass which will be fitted in the bathroom window of someone really ugly. There’s nothing wrong in it, but it’s an utter waste of money, resources and potential. The issue is that we are retrofitting our needs to the supply. We are using a global stage to sit and pick our noses, we are like that boy-band who had that one decent song, but it pops up whenever someone is searching for one. In short, we are too busy thinking ways to get rich quick, while sitting on a goldmine.  And that won’t stop until we stop and see what we have, till we give it a proper shape in our heads. There is no confusion as to how stories need to be told on TV, is there? It’s because our generation grew into that technology. We understand how it works and all the tools that work with it, because we had enough time to play with it. Heck, we were even called the TV generation, remember? Our kids are born into smart phones and social media, and sadly some people are still referring to it as New Media. Don’t forget, TV was called ‘new media’ not very long ago from now, if you get my drift.
So I’ll start today’s class by calling it by giving it a name. Why you ask? For the same reason that Radiovision is called Television today. Yes, that’s what TV as a media was called when it was invented in 1923. I’ll give you a moment to Google it, go ahead. (
And it wasn’t that sexy piece of hardware on your wall either, it was awkward and ugly, the way the internet was few years back. The reason it got changed to TV is because it outgrew the shadow of radio waves and got into telecommunication. Digital, as an industry has also outgrown it’s name and dependency. In fact it’s grown so much, that it has overshadowed all of the rest of its siblings, older or not. Now it wants a bigger portion at the dinner table, bigger space to keep it’s stuff in and makes the famous one a bit uncomfortable coz no one seems to get enough of him. That is why digital needs a new identity, because it doesn’t want to be called by its nickname anymore.
So here is an attempt. Instead of calling it Digital Media, why don’t we call it Experiential Media Channels? Because that is what this media is, it’s a chance to interact with the user on an individual level through experiences, may it be audio, video or participative, that can be triggered through technology on any and every media platform. And only when we recognize the real personality of this elephant in the room, is when we will begin to control it.

Note: The views expressed here are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of afaqs! Campus



Abhishake Das

Abhishake Das is a digital marketing enthusiast.