Developments in technology are moving at such a rate that it’s difficult for even the youngsters to keep up!
But it defines so much of people’s work and personal lives these days that it’s important to make a continuous effort to understand the digital world, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Try to learn little and often, when you’re at work or at home.
Digital skills to master:
10 ways to improve your digital skills from your desk:
1. Read books
For an in-depth insight on a particular digital topic, look for a GOOD book. Take it on your lunch break or commit to reading one chapter or for 20 minutes a day at your desk.
2. Read blogs
Whatever you’d like to learn more about and whatever level you’re already at, there’ll be a blog out there for you (just like this one!) Blogs normally take between one and fifteen minutes to read so they’ll give you a bite-sized hit of knowledge that’s perfect while you’re taking a coffee break. And by reading recently published blogs, you’ll be getting the most up to date information that’s not always possible from a book.
3. Watch YouTube
Another way to learn about digital, digitally! And you don’t even have to read. There are YouTube videos for everything and it’s not just a website – it’s the world’s second largest search engine.
4. Find a teacher
Ask someone digitally savvy in your office to help you learn. You could swap skills or they could run a seminar for a group of colleagues who are interested in the same topic.
5. Take a course
If you find it hard to dedicate time to self-learning then committing to a course – either online or classroom-based – might be what you need. If you can make a case for it being relevant for your career development then it’s worth asking if your workplace will fund it.
6. Teach others what you’ve learnt
Consolidate your new knowledge and ‘pay it forward’ by teaching what you’ve learnt to others. You could do this one on one, host a presentation or write a blog post about it.
7. Get analytical
Secret (or not so secret) geeks will benefit from beginning with looking at the digital stats behind the scenes. Understanding the analytics behind digital marketing platforms (for example, websites, social media and email) is the most important part but also the bit that a lot of people don’t master. Once you’ve understood the numbers it will be easier to work out what affects them and how.
8. Use your hobby
The best way to learn is normally to simply get stuck in. Take a hobby or something you’re passionate about and start your own digital project around it – set up a social media account, start a blog, make a video, record a podcast or build a website using a tool like Squarespace. Use them, test them and make mistakes.
9. Be social
You might not want to post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter but watch what others are doing that works and what doesn’t. What do you like and what don’t you? What type of content makes you ‘like’, click through or interact in another way? A large percentage of Twitter’s active users don’t actually tweet but just use the network to ‘listen’.
10. Book an event
London alone plays host to over 20,000 tech-related events every year and a lot of them are free to attend. You can go along to listen to talks, join up with communities of like-minded people and start working on projects together. Use Meetup to find events that are local to you.
5 digital book recommendations to get started with:
● Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative by Scott Brinker
● Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption by Tom Goodwin
● Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet et al
● Likeable Social Media, Third Edition: How To Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, & Be Generally Amazing On All Social Networks That Matter by Dave Kerpen
● Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy
Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.