While this relatively new transition to the digital age is the definition of my generation, it is something of an enigma for me. As a sophomore at the University of Michigan studying communications and Spanish, you would think I have this whole “digital thing” figured out. I don’t. As usually the last person to convert to digital anything (I returned my Kindle that I got for Christmas in favor of bulky, hardcover books and I didn’t get a Facebook until very, very late in the game), you would probably wonder what I am thinking interning for a digital marketing agency.
There seems to be a pervasive negative connotation associated with the word “digital.” When my grandparents see me on a computer, they think I am wasting my time away. My parents think that I need to take a serious break from my phone. And many employers think that my generation is spending more time on Facebook at the office than doing actual “work.” So naturally, I hopped on board this train and developed a less than positive attitude about anything other than paper.
However, it’s occurring to me that maybe everything digital has been severely misjudged, like anything new that enters our society. Facebook (while in can be extremely annoying) has the ability to connect people from all over the world to maintain interactions that would never have lasted before. Businesses and non-profits have websites that reveal more information about their company and motivations with one click than you could get from a 20-minute phone call. News is now more available and accessible so you don’t have to wait until the morning newspaper to find out what is happening in the world.
If I try to imagine my own life without digital anything, I can’t. When I finished reading the Hunger Games and was confused on how a certain character died (I won’t say who!), I googled it. If I didn’t follow my favorite tennis players on Twitter, I would probably have no idea who is winning what tournament. The world of digital has become so integrated into my life that it’s hard for me to even separate the things I do using digital devices and those I do without.
Through this internship, I hope to find out how to design websites that make them user-friendly and appealing, how to write a digital press release, and how search engine optimization actually works. Regardless of whether or not digital marketing is my future career or not, it has an immense effect on many things I do in my life. Gaining skills in this area is not just something to throw on my resume; it is something that will play an important part in many aspects of my life.
While I may not give into the temptations of the glossy Kindle or purchase the iPhone to replace my outdated Pantech anytime soon, I won’t enter the digital world kicking and screaming. Maybe because digital has been a vital part of my life for so long, without me even realizing it.