Will Somebody PLEASE Trust Me!

Excuse me for a moment, but…

I need a little vent.  Boom tish!

I’m feeling very stifled creatively in my work.  It’s not that I don’t like my job, I LOVE it.  But I can see very big holes in the way we are engaging with our customers, and it’s in the one area that I am not only passionate about, but I believe that I am good at.  In fact, it’s in the one area that my whole job title is about… and that’s digital media.  Also known as social media or sometimes Web2.0.  Basically it’s all the stuff that we do on the internet today, most of which you will find connected to me right here on this blog.  Blogging itself, photograph sharing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, all that stuff.  Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well immersed in it all.
I personally believe that while we’re REALLY good at teaching customers new things, and REALLY good at expanding our customers horizons, we’re REALLY bad at engaging with those that are already skilled and wish to be engaged with as peers.  They don’t need to be taught what digital media is, they already know.  They don’t need to be taught how to use it, they’re already using it.  And we’re not in their world, or where we are, we talk to them in corporate speak, or as though we’re instructing children.
Every piece of communication we put out to our customers has been marketed to the nth degree.  There is no spontaneity to it, no warmth.  It’s got to have a “look and feel”.  Now while I think that is perfect for things like brochures and printed media (I know myself I can find something in my notebook or bag very quickly if it has a distinct brand look to it), it doesn’t work for the whole online presence any more.  If you are engaging with people via digital media, I believe you should be speaking to your audience as though they’re  your peers.
We don’t do that anywhere.  We’re broadcasting, not communicating.  Broadcasting does have it’s place, but it’s not the be all and end all like it used to be.  Our culture is far more interactive and communicative than it has been in a very long time.  And being broadcast to loses our attention pretty quickly.
Which comes back to my feeling stifled.  I’m good at the digital media stuff.  I don’t mean that like “Well everyone, I’m an expert.”, because I know I’m not.  But I’m confident with having a go at it, and I understand how it works.  I’m passionate about digital media because it’s what interests me, and it’s where I am.  And in a sense, I feel like the customer that is being ignored.
So I have this knowledge and passion… and I feel like I’m not allowed to do anything with it.  I keep presenting what I know after VAST amounts of learning on my own initiative, only to have it dismissed or fed up to the higher levels where it disappears in a miasma of workshops and focus groups, only to be spat out the other side as another piece of corporate “collateral” which totally misses the point.
I feel like I am wasted a lot of the time.  I am earning a really good wage which I feel is being spent on me stuffing envelopes and cleaning up the database, when I could be of a lot more value for money if I was given something I could really chew on and trusted more.  It’s not that I believe that the work I am doing is beneath  me, it’s just that I feel that as a Band 4 I could be utilised SO much better.
Not so long ago my boss asked me if I wanted him to encourage me more.  I replied “Well that would be nice, but what I really want is for you to discourage me LESS.”  But I’m not sure anyone quite gets that concept.
Disclaimer:  Please remember that this is MY blog and the opinions expressed here are MINE and not that of my employer or any other organisation.  If ya don’t like what I got to say, don’t read it!
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February 5, 2009. communication, creativity, digital media, libraries, social media, vent, Web2.0, work.

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