Learning Technology

Old does not mean dead, new does not mean best

This piece has been inspired by three things, one being a recent post I shared on LinkedIn that you can view in the picture below, a lyric from a new song by Slipknot and a movie called the Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway – an odd combo I’m aware.

My context and aim in releasing the LinkedIn post was initially to start a conversation on not discarding what we already have in favour of what’s on trend. It the days after I posted this, I began reflecting on what this philosophy could mean for many areas of life and in particular in the fields of learning an marketing which I operate in.

My theme within this piece is to showcase that just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s obsolete and that something new doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you to use.

LD post

What follows over the next few paragraphs are captures of my thoughts as a reminder to the great benefits of considering every option at your disposal and choosing the right solution for the challenge at hand.

A couple of examples

First off let’s look at this from a learning perspective.

There has never been a better time to be alive when it comes to the options and opportunities to learn. We are blessed beyond belief with what is available to use, especially in this digital age. Popular tools such as Google, Wikipedia and the endless parade of social media platforms enable us to access vast amounts of knowledge whenever we wish.

These methods are new, shiny and exciting. Yes they provide great benefit, yet this doesn’t mean that they are the answer or solution to every learning challenge that we may face.

In today’s world we now consider talking to people, reading books or partaking in classroom experiences as the old way of absorbing knowledge or developing your craft.

However everything has its place and sometimes the best option to build your craft and skills is to use one of these older approaches. As stated earlier, just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s obsolete.

I look after the digital learning strategy for a leading worldwide organisation but I find just as much value in developing myself by having conversations with other people, dropping into an interactive classroom experience or reading informative content from leading thinkers and innovators.

I cannot obtain all the experiences I’d like through new and trendy digital channels, they aren’t always the right option for every learning challenge I have, but blending the old and new together allows me to choose what works for the task at hand.

A second example of this comes from the world of marketing.

A big part of my day to day corporate role and the work on my side project is focused around marketing. I like to think of myself as somewhat savvy when it comes to social media, marketing, communications and engagement, yet I’m no expert.

I had an idea recently, which entailed sharing more of the content that I write (which you can read here btw) with more people who I knew it could help and would be interested in the topics I was writing about. My first instinct of course and the recommendation from many others as well, was to invest time in promotion through social media platforms.

While I understand the suggestion to do this, I was aware that I might have another option to connect with people who could be interested in my work and one that I’ve been informed has now been considered kind of old school since the birth of social media. Of course the option I speak of is the famous email newsletter.

It was a surprise to me that data has shown email newsletters to have been the most consistent way to engage people with content for the last 10 years. Regardless of the social media explosion, actually getting people to view your content or getting the people you know who would want to view it, is more achievable via a personalised newsletter in my opinion.

Why is this you say? Well the simple answer is because they asked for that content.

Unlike with social media where you’re basically taking a scattergun approach and firing your content out into the digital realm hoping that people will see it, a newsletter provides a platform to connect with those who already love your stuff, want to read more of it and would be more willing to share it organically with their own networks.

Let’s bring some clarity

I don’t want anyone to be confused here and feel like I’m saying don’t use social media to build an audience for your content, because that’s incorrect.

Social media is amazing, a powerful marketing tool if used correctly and will help you build a brand and/or audience.

The point I’m trying to make is don’t forget about the other options you have to connect with people.

A newsletter allows your true fans/followers to receive your latest and greatest stuff in a neatly delivered package so that they don’t need to go looking across all your social channels for it.

Once more it’s about selecting the best option for the what you’re trying to achieve and not always being seduced by the latest shiny new trend.

To wrap up

To close this piece I will leave you with this.

Make sure to review and use every option at your disposal, just because something is old this doesn’t mean it’s obsolete nor never to be used again and just because something is new and on trend, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best solution for the task at hand.

Before you go… 👋

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