September 5, 2019

Why do I love digital content?

This review originally appeared in the September 5, 2019 issue of The Content Technologist with the email subject line "Drag and drop it like it's hot" and a review of email design software Bee.

I work in digital because I enjoy never being 100% sure of how I’m going to get from point A to point B. I like how the system shifts — sometimes graceful pivots, sometimes destructive earthquakes — when the path between two points changes. I like figuring out the most elegant and efficient solution to an otherwise messy problem. I enjoy the roadmapping process, like I always geeked out over proofs in geometry. I like the things I make with my cyborg brain.

But here’s the thing: I don’t really code. I know the bare minimum of HTML and CSS. I’ve tried to teach myself Javascript a few times, but I haven’t been able to give it the time and attention it needs. I understand how code works, but I don’t code, and yet I am a digitally successful professional who calls herself a technologist!

What I like about code and cyborg brains and digitally built virtual things is that they are purely logical. Humans, on the other hand, have shifting and fallible perceptions and feelings and generally have a lot of trouble learning new systems, especially after they’ve taken the time to learn something as complex and asinine as the English language.

Some see the code in English. We reduce sentences like fractions. We use the Hemingway app. We shame users of the word “leverage” as they should be shamed.

Some see the code in design. They follow the rule of threes and the Fibonacci sequence. They yield leading and kerning and contrast and proportions like dietitians.

If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably see the code in a part of your chosen occupation. If it’s not actual code, you call it “craft” or “professionalism.” And you may be rankled when some tyro skips over that craft and makes their own thing that is based on all of your principles but is totally different and ignores everything you ever learned… but it still works and people like it.

You’re also reading this newsletter because you see the new possibilities. You’re excited to skip over all those crafty steps that actually made things harder and get to what’s next.


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