March 22, 2019

On Digital Self-Reliance

a digital campfire

I was listening to The Ground Up Show podcast the other day and one part of the conversation jumped out at me. I completely forget who Matt D’Avella was talking to (sorry!) but they got on the topic of being able to do a bunch of digital work yourself. Things like record audio, produce video, set up a website, or send an email. Both agreed that starting side projects were immensely helpful because it forced them to learn new skills. I’ve found the exact same thing happen to me.

Related: My wife routinely asks me how I learned how to do something. Building emails, designing websites, fixing things around the house, etc. I almost always respond, “By doing it and looking something up when I need to.”

Also related: When one of my kids has a question about how to do something, I try to encourage them to figure it out on their own before asking me for a simple solution. When I do give them a solution, I try to walk them through how it works so that they can do it on their own next time around.

Finally: The world is increasingly connected through any number of digital paths. Workers are increasingly called on to do digital jobs for which they haven’t been trained. Even outside of work, people are increasingly relying on digital platforms to manage every aspect of their lives.

All of this points to the need for people to become digitally self-reliant.

What is digital self-reliance?

Digital self-reliance is the ability to accomplish important tasks online (or locally), on your own.

For me, that means being able to figure out how to create websites, create and send emails, record audio, use social media, produce videos, write and publish online, and talk to people with empathy and understanding without being face-to-face. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I immediately know how to do those things, but that I can learn and acquire those skills for future use.

It’s been a struggle to learn a lot of those skills, but it’s always been worth it. Without learning those skills and becoming largely digitally self-reliant, I never would have been able to write and release a few books on email, a video course on the same, or most of the things I do during my day at Litmus.

I’m still thinking about what this means and what skills are necessary for most people to be considered digitally self-reliant, but I do think it’s a very important topic.

What do you think? What skills do you think are necessary for digital self-reliance? How have you used your skills to accomplish something important to you? Email me and let me know. I’d love to hear about it.