ar  agency record

I had lunch with Iain with the other day and he was telling me how annoyed he was by the term 'Post Digital'. Or perhaps, more specifically, by how some people are using it. And, I must admit, I've been getting more and more embarrased by it myself.

Now, coining or promulgating a bit of jargon gives you no proprietary rights over it, I know that. It'll end up meaning whatever people want it to mean. But, just for the record, this is some of what I meant and what I didn't.


Post Digital was intended as a possible condition we might get to. A place where we're able to evaluate digital and analogue tools equally and fairly, from a position of equal familiarity and expertise. Right now, there are tiny handful of people qualified to do this. I'm not one of them. Tom might be.

And it's a condition – in the world – where most people have powerful and easy to use devices full of applications and services which work well and satisfyingly, where you can get all the media you want on all the screens you like. And where occasionally you might go, you know what, I'd rather have this thing printed out for me, or made into an object, or read to me by a robot in the shape of an egg.

Newspaper Club or Bubblino aren't proofs that we're living in a Post Digital age, they're little indications of what it might be like when/if we finally, eventually get there.

To use a horribly inappropriate and over-weighty comparison I'm using Post Digital in the way that people might have used Post-War in 1913 or 1938. They were speculating, hoping, not describing something real. It's an idea not a reality. We've not had the war yet.


Post-Digital was not intended as a sop for the complacent. It's not supposed to suggest that 'digital' is a solved problem or yesterday's fad. It's not a suggestion that digital* is just another channel. It's not supposed to be a synonym for integrated, 360, channel-neutral or any of that stuff. Doing some telly AND a website does not make you Post Digital.

The only way to be a Post Digital business is to be a thoroughly, deeply, massively digital one. To be digital in culture not just in capabilities. To know how to iterate in public, to do experiments not research, to recognise that it's quicker and better to code something than it is to describe it in meetings. You need to be part of the wider digital culture, to have good sharing habits, to give credit where it's due, and at the very least to know how to do ellipses in Processing.

Post DIgital was supposed, if anything, to be a shout against complacency, to make people realise that we're not at the end of a digital revolution, we're at the start of one. The end game was not making a website to go with your TV commercial and it's not now about making a newspaper out of your website. Post Digital was supposed to be the next exciting phase, not a return to the old order. It's the bit where the Digital people start to engage in the world beyond the screen, not where the old guard reasserts itself.

If I'd paid more attention in history I'd probably be able to throw in a Russian Revolution analogy at this point – possibly something about the Mensheviks.


So, to the extent that Post Digital is being used as a cover for complacency or sloth I apologise. If you think it means we're entering a period of post-revolutionary stasis you're wrong. Sorry for the confusion.

Equally, if you're working inside a business, trying to get them to really, thoroughly understand digital (and see how much they still don't get it) and I've made your job harder, then I'm also sorry. In mitigation I might point out I wasn't writing / talking about advertising or media agencies, I almost never am, I was talking about the world, a possible world.


However, I remain delighted that people are thinking about Post Digital as an idea; imagining products and services that thoroughly, competently, delightfully integrate the Analogue and the Digital. That's great. Keep doing that.

The other thing, not so much.

(* I'm also deeply aware that using – Digital – like this is horrible. Like it'a a thing. But I can't see a way round it. Sorry.)

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The term ‘crunchy granola’ has been shortened to crunchy, a term used to describe people who willingly alter their lifestyle to make less of an impact on the environment. It’s crunchy to give up your car for a bike, or to use mesh companies or to become vegan.

I wonder what happens if we broaden the term to describe someone who changes their lifestyle for a job or a brand or a passion? “Eric is getting really crunchy about his job at Microsoft… he even gave up his iPad.” Or perhaps, “Cheryl is crunchy about Vuitton… it’s all she wears.”

Does success for you depend on creating crunchiness among your customers and fans?

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We are a thinking, design & development collective based in Madrid. Dodo is our website, it’s thought as our new digital member. It has its own states of mind and its own personality. Be sweet if you visit it.

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Is there a schism between the folks who love color tattoos and those that like black & white ones? Or the fans of the original Star Trek who hate the folks who like the far inferior newer Star Trek models?

Freud noticed it too.

Here’s why it happens:

First, you have to care. When people care about a brand or a cause or an idea, it’s likely that have other things in common. And the caring causes them to invest attention. Once they’ve done that, they can’t help but notice that others don’t see things the way they do. We ignore the great unwashed and reserve our disdain for those like us, that care like us, but don’t see things as we do.

The really good news is that the tribe cares. If you don’t have that, you’ve got nothing of value. In fact, the squabbling among people who care is the first sign you’re on to something. [HT to Joel].

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There are at least three reasons why someone might pay five or ten or a hundred times more to see a concert than the CD costs (not to mention the value difference: you can listen to the download again and again but the live gig is gone forever):

  • There are people around you, fellow travelers, magnetic energy, shared joy.
  • Something might go wrong. The artist is like a tightrope walker, taking big chances and the drama it creates is engrossing.
  • You might be surprised. Something new and wonderful might happen and it might jar you awake.

And yet, people in the ‘live’ business–restaurants, people doing presentations, the concierge at the hotel–often work hard to avoid getting anywhere near any of the three.

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PositivEnergy Program
The first energy compensated website where every mouse clics or moves are detected, integrated to the PositivErgy Program and converted into real energy for a Unicef’s program in Africa.

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If you’re sick of back-breaking broom and mop work, but still to need to get your floor clean before the parental units arrive for the holidays, get your hands on…

Visit Uncrate for the full post.

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Media artist Jitsuro Mase has invented an incredible new gadget that puts 3-D film in the palm of your hand.

The i3DG (short for “I”, “3-D”, and “Gadget”) is a small watchbox-like attachment that slips onto the iPhone or iPad, turning your device into a miniature 3-D movie palace. No dorky glasses needed.

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The trick is a 45-degree-angled mirror that projects images from your iPad or iPhone into the space around it. Read more about how it works here.

Mase partnered with the Japanese company Directions, Inc. to produce an exhibit of i3DGs for the Ars Electronica 2010 Festival in September. No word yet on whether it’ll be commercially available. Check back on the New Directions’s Web site for updates.


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Own a piece of computing history with this Apple 1 ($160,000 and up). This classic computer may not be all that useful, but it and that materials it comes with…

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The next frontier in personal coaching. No need to spend time describing your problem.


I can’t decide which is sillier–the obviously fake photo (She used to be fat? Those are her jeans?) or the juxtaposition of the banner with the wall.


And this is the secret of lowering your handicap. The box says the bar on the right is for the back nine. My question is: what if you eat them in the wrong order?

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