Keeping up with emerging media

Orange Keep Calm Sign

As contemporary career advice goes, keep calm and keep up is the bare minimum in polite guidance. A less diplomatic career counselor would be more direct – adapt or die. Professionally, that is.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re adapting to emerging media. Well done!

Professionals active in the workplace today face a new world order. Emerging media has an impact on almost everyone whose job involves any digital interaction with a computer or a mobile device. Yet, this powerful force in our personal and professional lives is so dynamic it is challenging to define theoretically. Inherent in its very title is the propensity to evolve and change. To further complicate the issue, common vernacular often uses the terms, emerging media, new media, and digital media, interchangeably. As a practical matter, emerging media encompasses such mediums as websites, smart phone applications, blogs, podcasts, video ads, social networking, RSS feeds, micro-blogging, message boards, forums, advergaming – basically any method for communicating and connecting within the digital landscape.

It would be logical to assume that the brunt of the pressure to adapt to the emerging media revolution falls on the shoulders of professionals active in fields related to media, communications and marketing. Not so, claims Shaila Dewan of the New York Times:

“The need to constantly adapt is the new reality for many workers, well beyond the information technology business…retooling becomes increasingly important not just to change careers, but simply to stay competitive on their chosen path.”

Ironically, professionals are using emerging media to keep up with emerging media. Industry blogs, training videos, ebooks or peer-to-peer forums, are all examples of valuable tools that lend themselves to learning on-the-job and building a skill set in new areas of expertise.

Those who seek the benefit and validation provided by a higher level of formal accreditation in emerging media and marketing can take advantage of a growing number of dedicated university courses, offering undergraduate and graduate programs. The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Masters program at West Virginia University (WVU) offers a customized selection of 30 courses equipping graduate students as certified leaders in emerging media and marketing.

In a hyper-connected world it is not enough to just do your job well today, always remain willing to rewrite your job description tomorrow. The emerging media knowledge you have already mastered may not be so relevant in three years time, it could even be obsolete. Prepare to invent, adapt and reinvent your role, continuously, over the course of a career.  Companies will not hire or retain those who do not display competency in keeping up with the pace of change. Whether you choose to adapt through ad-hoc or formal education in emerging media, keep calm and commit to active learning.