Basic rules for communicating in digital spaces
1. Understand your context and be clear about what sort of communication will work best
Some online spaces have very specific conventions.For instance, Twitter allows you only 280 characters to communicate your key message, so knowing how to convey what you want to say in a constrained format is critical. But even more important is understanding what this type of communication is best used for.One of the main reasons to use Twitter is to make short, timely comments on current events, whether these be news or professional events important for you or your organisation. Because it works in short bursts, Twitter is most effectively combined as part of a set of different communication tools (eg a short tweet might link to a more detailed story on your blog or website).
2. Remember that digital communication doesn’t happen in one place; it’s about creating links between digital spaces and using hyperlinks to create networks of information
Creating digitally linked networks can be very simple.
3. Design your digital communications carefully because people read and use the web differently
We read online differently from the way we read other texts. In fact, we don’t read; we scan.We jump from heading to heading or look at a picture and a caption to try to figure out quickly what the piece is about, which is why web-based communication needs to be designed to move the eye through key points. Some of the ways you can do this is to:
chunk your content into bite-sized pieces use paragraphs of one or two sentences keep your sentences short use dot points use headings, subheadings and bold key text repeat your key message in several places (eg combine images and captions to summarise your message).
4. Keep in mind the digital world is a visual world, so use images that help you communicate your message
In digital communications, images can be used in different ways for different purposes. For example, they can:
make your online communications more personal by including images of yourself or your team explain something quickly in a diagram or infographic add social context by showing people enjoying an event or a product.Like all communication, using images well involves being clear about what you’re using them for and how they’re adding to the story. What’s the context? How does it build links? How is it incorporated in the screen design to move the eye through the story most effectively?
Your taskThink of or search for examples of digital communication done well – or even not well. What worked, what didn’t, why and what could’ve be done better?Next, based on these basic rules provided by Marcus, how might you go about applying these techniques to improving or showcasing your own digital communication skills?Add your thoughts, links or examples to the comments along with any questions, suggestions or feedback in relation to what other learners have posted.
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