By: Steven Underwood
Digital media is one of the most compelling reasons why Social Media matters in this day-and-age. All news, whether hilarious or critical, is only but a click or a poorly articulated smart phone command away from becoming an argument between distant relatives and a barely acknowledged high school friend. The movement from print to digital has upstarted interest in the Writing Community, and the old school rules of bare bone Journalism no longer apply to this new world; now, instead of mere fact, you also need something exciting: something creative.
In my new search for employment post-undergrad, I’ve noticed many companies are looking for digital correspondence to manage Social media and Digital media platforms. However, I’ve noticed one poor trend amongst these people: they only actually solicit for Journalism and Communication majors. Don’t be confused, I can see the benefit in relying on people with a history from the old world, but they aren’t the only writers around with the stuff to live in this digital world.
Digital Media is a plane of feeling, ingenuity, and innovation: things that Creative Writers embody in every midnight poem or a caffeine-addled short story of a girl at a diner. There is a use for Creative Writers in this journalist-adjacent field, and – in a digital media-manner – I’ll give you four Reasons why Digital Media should honestly take a chance with us:
1. Digital Media Needs Narrative
Journalism’s evolution beyond print and paper has contributed to a new way of looking at media and news. Sources like Blavity and Mic capitalize on fun, innovative and exciting voices in their news that simultaneously expose the Truths of the world around us, while also entertaining the reader with a narrative distinct from the bare bone method of print journalism. Every good story doesn’t merely need facts: you need to care about the people involved as if they’re characters: with a beginning, middle and an end.
2. Digital Vocabulary is a Fluid Thing
How to best put this? Language is also metamorphosing, especially on the internet. When a word becomes a trend, no one waits for Webster or Norton to decide to christen the word and say: “Okay, that’s the proper use of it.” The rule is broken almost on principle, and this is something many Creative Writers are okay with. In fact, many Creative Writers habitually do it in pursuit of artistic fluidity. Did you think there was a rule for how to quote a tweet before some writer just went “F#$K IT!” and just free-willyed it? Like some guy once said: “You gotta know the rules, before you break them.” Rule #1 of Digital Writing, do it if it’s clear, and if it isn’t, bend everything until it becomes that way. Red squiggly lines be damned!
3. Cliche, Cliche everywhere!
Most digital media audiences are as disgusted by cliche as writers are. They see them everywhere: today’s internet user is the most well-read person in history: they’re constantly reading something whether it is a text, or some trashy gossip article, or some messy twitter thread on how some @TiffanyXoXo stole @TheRealYaya’s boyfriend. Creative Writers have some of the best perspectives in the world, in that they can map when something becomes a huge cliché before even readers realize they’re tired of hearing about it: at least, the good ones can. (there are certainly writers who sometimes create a cliché why being the first person to do it… we don’t talk about those people).
And speaking of perspective…
4. The Poet’s Perspective.
Some inspiring old lady named Elizabeth Barrett Browning once believed, Poets must have perspective. Perspective is vital to looking at different news from both a critical eye and how it plays across the wider narrative. There are many ways to tell one story, but what side is the most necessary to progressing the situation to its rightful, most beneficial state?
So employers, please consider employing a Creative Writer on staff. Honestly? You never know when you’ll even learn a thing or two.