In the last six months, I’ve spent more time than ever before in the digital and social networking space. The experience has taught me a lot, not the least of which is how much creative opportunity exists here. Twitter, 12second.tv and other new platforms are creative gold mines waiting for prospectors.
Lee Clow once predicted, it’s only a matter of time before technology is in the hands of creative people. It’s a thought echoed by the Rhode Island School of Design’s new President John Maeda. He’s transforming that renowned institution in the belief that art, design and technology are all converging and that it’s art and design that will transform the 21st century. The time is getting close, if not already here. And if that’s the case then creative people everywhere need to embrace technology fearlessly. After all, we don’t want to leave the entire future to the technologists, do we? Here’s a few things I’ve learned worth sharing.
1. Traditional creative people don’t have a choice. You can either learn everything there is to know about digital or become a dinosaur.
2. Your next creative partner should be a tech guy, someone who writes code. That way you can actually make something (an application, a digital product, a new online service) other than an ad.
3. APIs are your friend. You don’t have to understand how they work but if you know what you can do with them you have a whole new canvas on which to create.
4. You’ll find out how much (or how little) you actually know if you commit to blogging. You’ll also find out first hand what it takes to connect in this space as both a marketer and a creative thinker.
5. Your readers will make you smarter, teaching you things, sharing ideas and disagreeing with you — good experiences for helping brands succeed out here, too.
6. Social media is not about how many people you reach, it’s about how many people you connect with and influence. Brands also need to learn this lesson.
7. Your creative equity isn’t in how much knowledge you can keep to yourself in hopes of having an advantage, it’s in how much of it you can share, and even give away.
8. You can’t understand the value or potential of plethora digital media by sitting through a Power Point presentation. You have to experience it yourself. Go. See. Conquer.
9. Creative skills are as easily applicable to developing iPhone apps, Twitter apps, and new digital services as they are to conceiving TV spots.
10.And finally, if you’re going to make a list, it should include 10 things.
What have you learned? Share your perspectives on how creative people can transform themselves to stay relevant and even thrive in the digital space.