Cultivating Digital Literacy: A Must-Have Skill in the Automated Era
In a nutshell, digital literacy is a person’s ability to successfully use technology. The importance of digital literacy in the workplace should be fairly apparent at this point—we’ve all seen countless humorous…and awful…examples of failures and observed the sometimes harsh, but often deserved, repercussions to those mistakes. So you know how valuable it is, but how do you cultivate it?
Think of technology as a tool that can give you more freedom
It’s very common to feel threatened and overwhelmed by technology and changes in technology, but it can be an extremely valuable tool that frees you to do parts of your job you enjoy—parts of your job it can be difficult to find time for.
Think about parts of your skillset that could be performed by some form of technology. Then consider how to use that technology to liberate you from the busywork that uses up valuable time and energy. Is there a way you can use AI as a tool for collaboration? Can automating certain tasks give you more space to focus on the creative portions of your job?
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Remember when we said it’s common to feel wary of new tech? It’s also common to be afraid to “break” it. But in actuality, “testing to break” is just as important as “testing to work.” The technology being developed or versioned for your business is going to be used by you and people like you. So when you’re learning a new system, go for it. What do you need the platform to do to help you succeed?
If a platform or software doesn’t make sense for your division’s needs, isn’t intuitive, or takes up time instead of freeing it, the developers need to know. Technology that’s being created or versioned for your business should be developed for those who will be using it. It sounds very simple, but we’ve all worked on platforms that did not support process or efficiency. Take ownership and see that they do.
The more you learn, the easier it is to learn more
The marketing and sales that accompany the launch of platforms or versions of platforms will stress how unique they are, how they solve certain problems that have never been solved, how there’s a brand-new way to do…fill in the blank.
Well, the facts are, that’s really not totally true. Think about project management platforms, for instance. Over the course of your career, you’ve probably worked on several. And even if you work on the same platform at multiple companies, it’s highly likely each business has partnered with developers to create their own special version, unique to their specific needs. But no matter what, there will be similarities—a lot of similarities. And once you learn what to look out for, gaining fluency becomes quicker and easier.
Nurture your curiosity
Would you like to learn more about how AI can be used as a collaborative tool for writing or design? How companies can use social media to their best advantage? What kind of data would be most useful for your business? How you access and interpret that information? How has search engine optimization (SEO) changed in recent years? What digital processes can you introduce to your company that could make a big difference in collaboration and efficiency?
There are many ways to develop your skills, and there are also endless resources—the internet is at your fingertips, after all. Take a look at classes, podcasts, YouTube channels, thought leadership resources…nurture your interests, and see where they take you.
An important thing to remember—digital literacy isn’t just required for you to be successful at your job—the capabilities and skillsets you foster for your career will guide you in other areas of your life as well. That ability to research can help you when you’re looking for a new home, understanding data can help you establish a healthier lifestyle, and using AI as a collaborative tool can help you communicate more clearly.