Sunday, January 02, 2011

Let's get physical, not digital

Like many thirteen year-olds, my daughter spends a lot of time on Facebook, YouTube and Skype, not to mention texting her pals. She has an iPod, a Wii and a smartphone too. Her world has a lot of digital stuff in it. On Christmas Day, she still gets excited about presents, even though she knows that the fat guy in the red suit doesn't bring them any more. Her favourite presents this year? Some Cath Kidston bedding and pyjamas for he room that we're about to remodel and redecorate. Physical stuff.

At this time of year, we send out books to our regular clients as a small thank you for their business, and to provide them with some useful ideas for the new year. Physical stuff.

Whenever a client pays on time, we send a box of microphone shaped biscuits as a thank you to share around the office. Physical stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I love the digital world. I'm all over Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I send out digital newsletters and broadcast digital radio shows every week. But, like you, I also live in the real, solid, physical world. It's nice to get electronic greetings cards of dancing elves (though not quite as nice as it was last year, and the year before). What is really great, though, is to receive a card through the letterbox with a detailed, personal, handwritten message. E-books are nice, but also nice is a small book with a message written inside.

What's my point? Digital stuff is brilliant. It's not better or worse than physical stuff. Real, solid stuff that you can hold in your hand is important too, and I just wanted to offer a reminder about that.

As we rummaged through the loft a few weeks ago, trying to find the Christmas decorations, we found a dusty box that hadn't been opened for ten years or more. Inside was some stuff that had come from my office desk in the days when I still had a proper job. I found a coffee-stained, dog-eared business card of mine that must have dated from 1997. My job title in those days? Head of Digital Services. Plus ca change, eh?

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