A Riposte to the Post-Digital World


The term “post-digital world” is cropping up more and more, but I wish it wouldn’t. The term refers to a new zeitgeist that’s less Internet-centric and more live-centric, meaning that digital space is less of a destination and that live experiences are more of one. And that’s fine.

Semantics is the issue here. Using “post-digital” to describe a trend in marketing—which it often does—is misleading. It heavily suggests that digital is becoming irrelevant. I certainly wouldn’t want to throw the term out to one of our clients, many of whom are just now coming on board with the idea of digital advertising. Any reference to “post digital” at this point would be a jarring contradiction, like saying, “hey, dinosaurs are the new thing, but too bad they’re extinct.”

Spin it however you want, but consumers are still up to their i-balls in the digital experience. Unless an electromagnetic pulse renders all electronic devices unusable, people will be using the Internet as a conduit to discovering, learning about and interacting with companies providing goods, services and entertainment for at least the next decade.

If “post-digital” truly refers to the rise in currency of the live experience, then why don’t we call it that? Can’t “The Digital Age” include a “Live Experience” corollary? Wouldn’t digital marketing be one avenue on which to bring a consumer to a live experience?While it might seem to be picking nits by tearing into the definition of “post-digital,” it isn’t. With the vocabulary of our industry expanding so rapidly with the advent of new technologies, getting the definitions right is imperative. Not only do we have to understand and implement new concepts, we have to guide our clients onto the new terrain, as well. And that’s so much easier when they believe you know where you’re going.

–John Graham, Copy Director @ Creative Dimensions