Posted by: Laura Phillips Garner | January 15, 2010

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Adapting to new media is part of keeping up with changing times. Now, Bob Dylan is on YouTube and iTunes.

I am (deep breath) a woman of a certain age watching the world change before my eyes at a phenomenally fast pace. Everything is going online. Newspapers in printed form are dying (sigh). Anyone can publish information and their opinions without any institutional screening. (This blog is a case in point.) Everyone and everything connects to machines and each other in ways I don’t fully understand.

What does it all mean? What are the social and economic implications as a result of these new technologies next month? Next year? In five years? In a decade?

Digital natives label me a digital immigrant, although people in my generation had a lot to do with the emerging media explosion. Ever heard of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?

However, as any immigrant, I am adapting to this new and different world. I’m not afraid to try new tools, especially when they will make my life easier and help me get ahead in my career.

I’ve been using “new” forms of media in my job since I graduated from university. Computers replaced typewriters in the journalism-school writing lab my senior year. I wrote and edited stories on a video display terminal at my first job as a newspaper reporter. I remember when the Macs showed up in the newsroom, and we copy editors no longer had to lay out the newspaper with paper, pencil and a proportion wheel.

I got my first cell phone in 1995 as soon as coverage was available in my small town. (It was the size of a small brick, and I thought I was so cool!) I remember a sales person introducing my colleagues and me to the prospect of voice mail on our office telephones. I used ebay in its infancy when the great debate was whether or not to share credit card numbers over the Internet. When I started one new job, I had to convince the executive director that Internet access would make me so much more productive because I would not have to drive to the library to research my radio show. By the time I left that job, the organization’s Web site was much more interactive, whatever interactive meant in 2001. At one time, I struggled with senior leaders torn between the exciting prospects of social networking, and the risks to the organization. Three years later, that’s most likely all forgotten as the folks at National 4-H Council regularly use the 4-H Facebook Fan Page to keep all who want to know what’s going on with the 4-H Youth Development Program up to date.

Speaking of Facebook, I get a bit annoyed that some of my friends and most of my family are not using the social media site as it would just make my life a lot easier if they did. I actually have to use e-mail outside of Facebook or (shudder) pick up the telephone and call them when it would be so much easier for me to send them a warm fuzzy or ask a question I don’t need any answer to immediately if they just hopped on the social media bandwagon with the rest of us.

I greatly appreciate the benefits of e-commerce. If I do not buy a product online, there’s a good chance I’ve at least comparison-shopped via the Web before I go to a bricks and mortar store. I buy 90-plus percent of my music and videos from iTunes. My entire music library is on my iPod. I could not live without my smartphone or digital camera, and I have no problem catching a television program I missed on the network Web site if I forgot to record it with my DVR.

I’ve just scratched the surface of how I’ve changed and adapted to new media technologies through the years. Now, because of emerging media, I study Emerging Media and the Market with a professor who lives in Illinois through the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Degree Program at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., online from my home in Maryland. I’ve had professors in California and Pennsylvania, and my classmates live all over the United States and the world.

As Bob Dylan sings, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” They always are. They just change much faster now that we log on, key in, hook up, synch, and connect. I want to learn all I can about emerging media—or new media if you prefer—and how I can better communicate using these tools, especially in the context of integrated marketing communications. In this blog, I will share my perspectives with you. Are you ready for the ride? Hop on—virtually, of course!

— Laura Phillips Garner


  1. Hi,

    As a man of a certain age, I can certainly relate to your post. I think in our lifetime, we have seen most of the tenets of marketing (at least as it relates to the tools) blown apart.

    I compliment you, however, as you seem to have gone more “native” than I have been able to at this point. Your polish on this blog shows you are further down this path. I can’t bring myself to dedicate to the time requirement needed for Facebook (I watch my wife from afar), but I am a novice tweeter.

    When dealing with “natives”, one of the points I have the most trouble with is their idea of “intuitive” as opposed to mine. I’m not just referring to the fact that most for example would view the iPhone as intuitive (I do not), but also some of the concepts of searching the net and drilling a site that I find intuitive, they just don’t seem to get.

    This is not a complaint, a lament or a regret; it just is what it is. If anything, I think it is just a plea for all of us to have patience with concepts or statements we initially don’t follow.

    Great blog so far, I look forward to reading more.

    • Dear Mark,

      I think we each use social media in the way that best suits us. We can’t possibly use every type, nor would every type of social media be appropriate for every marketing campaign. Like anything else, we need to look at the target audience for our product and the demographic and psychographic qualities of its members to determine which social media tools we can use to best reach them with marketing messages. (I think we might even have to consider that social media might not be the way to go in some cases!)

      I think you are doing great! I am enjoying keeping up with you on Twitter, and you are just rockin’ with comments on our classmates’ blogs.

      I find that social media becomes more intuitive the more I use it and the more confident I am to just try it. It’s also a lot of fun.


  2. You do have a flow thank god it not a hip hop flow and people of a certain age can enjoy it 🙂

    • Hi Papadflo,

      Glad you like my flow! Thanks for reading and your support.


  3. I’m sure that I’ll enjoy learning from the interesting content that is being shared….and I’ll comment from time to time. Very interesting, Laura.

    • Thanks, Sue. I look forward to hearing what you think!

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