On a whim, I signed up for the EdX.org course BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Academic and Business Writing. It is a 5 week course with weekly journal assignments. I’ll be posting responses to the journal prompts here as I go.
This week’s assignment was to write about what type of writing you do normally, your thoughts on writing and what areas within writing you want to improve in the most.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with writing. I disliked the writing process at times, but I felt found myself drawn to the idea of being a writer. Call me Carrie Bradshaw! Or, call me someone who knows that being a strong written communicator can come in handy in the business world. Those emails aren’t going to write themselves! Which is where I come in. For ColWri2.2x’s first journal assignment we were asked to describe the type of writing we do most and for me that’s business writing. Emails and memos, mostly, but on occasion, training materials/documentations and slide decks. It may not be glamorous but I feel in my element when typing up a memo or documentation.
I didn’t feel as in my element when it came to academic writing. The essay section of the SAT, for example, was a nightmare. The writing prompt I had was lobsters (why?) and I’m pretty sure I got the lowest possible grade on that essay. In college, writing assignments went either way. Sometimes I felt happy with something I had written or surprised by positive feedback I’d written. Other times, it was a a source of frustration, stress and tears. No, with college and work experience behind me, I welcome the challenge of writing, but I do psyche myself out of it sometimes.
As far as improving, I’d like to get better at the idea of sitting down and just being a writer. Here’s to less talking myself out of writing and more talking myself into writing. There’s really no harm in writing, even if it’s not “great” or “perfect”. Practice is the only way to improve and it’s never too late to start.
Fortunately, I had a last minute opportunity to attend, but admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m an analytic personality type, so I have a strong appreciation for data, analytics and User Experience, but wasn’t sure if this conference would be over my head. I’m happy to report that as a non-marketer I got a lot out of the conference and am super excited to share back what I learned. While a recap doesn’t do the conference justice, I would highly recommend anyone working in the digital space to consider attending.
After 3 days in sunny Las Vegas, mingling with over 12,000 attendees and choosing from over 200 sessions, here are my favorite takeaways from Adobe Summit 2017:
Customer Experience is Everyone’s Business
The overwhelming theme present as this year’s Summit was that experiences, particularly customer experiences are everything. Marketing is changing. It’s more than just brand awareness, it’s about feelings, journeys and experiences. Consumers are changing too. We’re demanding with high standards and one poor experience can be detrimental to the trust we have in a brand. As a developer and dabbler in user experience, I took this idea to heart. While I may not be a decision maker I do play a part in the creation process. We all have the same goals in mind and if I can use my knowledge and experiences to help making a better one for a end user, I consider that a win.
Data & Storytelling
It’s no doubt, that we live in a data driven world. Data is being consumed and created at an alarming rate. Machine learning and digital assistants are commonplace. That said, data is only a small part of our brains. While data drives a lot of the decisions we make, stories resonate better with the human brain. The terms left and right brains refer to the logic and emotion sides in all of us. For a data story to be good, you need to appeal to both sides easily. Just think about it, what’s more appealing, a wall of numbers, stats and percentages, or, a story about those numbers, what they mean, their purpose and how it affects the recipient?
Mobile Is The Next Big Thing (Really!)
You may be thinking, you’ve heard the term “Mobile is the next big thing” before. And you would be right. Mobile first thinking has been top of mind for designers, developers and marketers for a few years now. To quote David Fisher, VP, Business and Marketing Partnerships at Facebook, “Mobile is both the last and next big thing.” As users and consumers, the way we interact with mobile devices will continue to grow and evolve. As marketers, designers, and developers, we need to think about designing content for mobile devices first as opposed to it being an afterthought.
It was really hard picking just three takeaways. So, here’s two more that I just had to share:
Adobe Think Tank – On Monday, March 20th, Adobe was live streaming conversation with leaders in the digital and creative industries. Past Think Tank videos can be viewed here and 2017 video will be available soon.
Sneaks – Each Summit, Adobe gives attendees behind-the-scenes looks at projects currently in development in the Adobe Labs. Unlike the Keynotes, they aren’t live streamed, but some of this year’s Sneaks are available for viewing.
Emotion Chamber – The Emotion Chamber was easily favorite booth at Summit. As you watch a short video in a mirrored chamber a camera tracks your face’s movements and bio-feedback. In the end, you get a personalized visualization of the emotions tracked during the video.