The foundations of being ‘digitally engaged’ can be split into three layers. The first is ‘access’. Do you physically have access to a smartphone or computer and a decent internet connection? Secondly, skills. Even if you have a smartphone, do you know how to use it? And lastly, how do you use it? Even if you have a smartphone and the basic technical skills necessary, can you use it in a positive and effective way? This last one is particularly relevant to young people – those ‘digital natives’ who supposedly have the innate gift of being able to use the technology they grew up with.
As the pace of change speeds up, it’s simply not possible to keep up to date with ALL new technology ALL the time.
Clearly access and training - the first two layers - involve money and resources. One thing that’s essential across the board is (for people of all ages), creative flexibility, that’s the solution.
Dr Josie Barnard is a writer of theory, fiction and non-fiction. Her works include studies, novels, creative non-fiction and, as well as books, print and radio journalism. She has taught creative writing widely, including at Middlesex University, Goldsmiths and the Faber Academy. Key interests include how the ‘digital turn’ impacts writing and publishing, research that is represented by ‘The Multimodal Writer’.