Tis the season to be digital... 18 December , 2014

While many will have lamented the amount of time taken over the past 12 months to connect to business and personal lives, using a multitude of digital devices (think mobile phones, tablets, computers, video conferencing, etc.), Desere’ Orrill, CMO of the Ole! Media Group prefers to look on the bright side: ***“*Christmas is a time for sharing – and if digital is one thing, then it most certainly is ‘shareable’. The festive season is a time of year where digital demonstrates just how useful, creative and powerful it can be.”

In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell invented the world’s first wireless telecommunications device to carry speech over light, from one point to another. He called this the ‘Photophone’ but later renamed it the ‘radiophone’. Bell’s Photophone was the foundation on which modern fibre-optic telecommunications are based and the reason we can now communicate in the way that we do. Today’s ‘PhotoPhone’ is able to take photographs with built-in cameras and video capabilities and transmit these – at the speed of light. The modern wireless communication device, the cellphone, moves everywhere with us, transmitting voice, simple messaging services (SMS/text) and e-mail documents within milliseconds.

The modern family may be scattered across the global village, yet thanks to digital communication, dear ones, can be near ones, if only in a virtual way. Better network infrastructure and a host of devices that support not only voice but cameras for real-time visual viewing, allow family members in multiple locations to ‘share the moment’. Rather than regretting the paucity of Christmas cards on the mantel, let’s relish our digital Christmas communications – from a simple festive season text message, through personalised dancing elf videograms, to elaborate virtual family reunions with digital camera hook-ups around the globe, MP3s that store festive music to please every generation, or photo apps that bring us everything as it happens.

The digisphere provides the ideal way in which to share past memories, create new ones and keep communication truly in the moment. “Whereas in the past, these moments were static, frozen in time and captured on celluloid, the contemporary digital moment, is a real life experience,” says Orrill. These experiences and memories also live on in the digital ecosystem, sometimes even taking on a life of their own, when they go viral – think humorous videos or unfortunate Tweets that have ricocheted around the world.

In a letter to his father, Alexander Graham Bell encapsulates the wonderment and power of communication that has no borders, saying: “I have heard articulate speech by sunlight! I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing! … I have been able to hear a shadow and I have even perceived by ear the passage of a cloud across the sun’s disk.” In December 2014, when the sunlight can be seen, captured in an instant, shared and preserved for eternity, it is important then, to ensure that whatever message we want to convey this festive season, it matters and counts. For, ’tis the season to be digital…

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