Storytelling is written in our DNA. The digital medium took millennia to emerge and is now one of the premier ways, if not the premier way, to tell a story. Yet, underneath the glamour and the coding, the purpose of digital is the same as that of every method before it.
Let’s define our terms:
Story means to share “what happened.” It recounts the struggles of a person or group of people and the experiences that shaped overcoming those struggles.
The best stories are about flawed people beating big obstacles to reach positive goals.
Digital, at its root, is “related to our digits” (and doesn’t that make sense since everything digital is right at our fingertips?). When we say “digital,” we mean zillions of binary digits, one after another, that make up the backbone of the information age.
Digital is the latest invention serving the timeless and universal goal of making connections. Our human nature does not change, despite our varied and clever ways to disguise and control it.
At Yellow Line Digital, our team approaches our clients’ digital presence with knowledge of this nature in mind.
For Becket, that meant connecting people who care about religious freedom.
For the Apostolate for Family Consecration, it meant connecting Catholic families.
Our client, Magis Center, started a project called the Purposeful Universe. That requires connecting lovers of science and philosophy.
How about the Vatican-based CAPP-USA? That takes connecting business professionals committed to Catholic social teaching.
We all yearn for connection, meaning, and fulfillment. So let’s connect! Stories connect best. So let’s tell stories!
Some organizations and agencies use digital and social media to sell. Some use it to influence. For our part, we use it to improve the lives of others.
Responsibility toward the common good
Social media should not aim to fuel addictions, convince someone that a product will fulfill them, or promise that sharing, liking, or subscribing will make them happy. It is a tool that walks a fine line between benefit and risk.
Does this mean you can’t sell or ask for engagement digitally? No.
However, I don’t think it’s wise to deny that we are spending too much time online and on the wrong things. Though it’s difficult to interpret studies concerning social media habits and their effects on mental and physical health, it’s undeniable that depression, anxiety, and loneliness are on the rise.
This coming from a guy who works in digital marketing? Yeah… weird.
Well, actually, not weird. Normal behavior is looking out for the common good 一 what is best for each other. The abnormal is what is currently more common.
My work in the digital realm is to increase the volume of the right things online.
That’s been realized by sharing the beauty of marriage with Leo Schachter Diamonds, raising awareness of charitable work with the Archdiocese of St. Louis, fighting for the common man with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, and promoting the dignity of motherhood with the USCCB.
Stewards of time
As digital creators and advertisers, we are just as much the stewards of an audience’s time as the audience themselves. We should create only what is truly valuable for a person to thrive.
We can, additionally, help each other authentically and truthfully discern what is worth our time and what is not.
All of us have heard in some form the advice not to live a virtual life.
But we, as marketers, must hear it too. We bear some responsibility.
Not everything is meant for everyone. Most online content is designed for a very small audience.
Audiences should focus on, you know, their circle of influence. But our personal worlds face stiff competition from the various messages of businesses, local news, and global events.
Guided by our unwavering commitment to promote the dignity of the person, the primacy of family, and the sureness of faith, Yellow Line Digital strives to create and promote content that serves various aspects of a person’s holistic development:
Thinking Big about the Purpose of Digital
At YLD, we aren’t interested in vanity numbers. We go deeper than what looks good. We don’t want our clients just to get engagements, followers, or leads. That’s not good enough. How about big donations or national headlines? Nope, still not big enough. Those are important and valuable, but while we promise to show measurable success, we also concern ourselves with the immeasurable. Let’s think bigger about the purpose of digital.
Is our client’s digital presence providing societal value? Does it add value to the audience’s day? Does it add value to your life?
Based on that, can we reasonably that culture is better because of it?
Yeah, now we’re thinking big!
So we start by tailoring messages and narrowing audiences down to the right size and story. The right message for the right audience from the right communicator goes the greatest distance.
We may not earn the most shares in history, or have our photos grace the banners of social media conferences, but we will provide value to the right audience, and that’s what counts to our clients.
It’s a two-way street. Audiences should keep their social media use modest and make every interaction a life-improving one. Organizations’ digital presences should genuinely improve the lives of audiences.
This is why we work with purpose-driven organizations, especially here in the United States.
The future of storytelling will always be about people. The purpose of digital will always be about connection. If any iteration strays from that beaten path, one so integral to our existence, those aberrations will fail.