Skills for a Modern Digital Citizen

If you were going to make a list of skills that a digital citizen could use to acquire and maintain a position of influence on the internet, what would they be? And why?

Below is a list I put together of general skills that a Digital Citizen can benefit from acquiring. It’s not exhaustive and I’ll add and amend it over time. Most importantly, it’s not intended as a criticism to anyone that doesn’t have a skill on the list. The world is vast and strengthened by unique people with unique skillsets.

Without a clear message and an ability to be heard, you don’t exist in the shared reality that makes up the internet. To that end, many of these skills support information and communication management practices. The goal – to efficiently find and be found.

Search Engine Optimization – this is a double sided skill. Understanding how to search for valuable information and the ability to be found by others are essential to a Digital Citizen. The best way to learn this is to learn the mechanics of how search engines work. The information age is defined by the rise of the long tail curve of distribution. Niche content is growing in profitability and the better a DC is at finding, curating, and creating a niche the greater their ultimate influence will be.

Social Media Networking – The internet is a giant network of information and people. Social media is positioned as the primary people networks used by individuals to connect with groups. It’s important to understand how to navigate these platforms as well as understand the future trends to stay relevant.

Social Media Search Engine Optimization – as SEO is to general purpose information, Social Media SEO is to optimizing the search for people related to niche topics. Understanding how to be appear in searches is rapidly becoming an important attribute for successful Digital Citizens. These searches have the same functions – indexing, filtering, and ranking results – but they have unique algorithms with different sets of tradeoffs worthy of study.

Social Media Marketing – a skill for Digital Citizens looking to be relevant in professional and business settings. As society merges more elements of life into a digital setting it will become increasingly important to understand the rudiments of digital and social media marketing. Your ability to be found by niche audiences will be critical to existing.

Writing – The essence of traditional communications is and always will be an important part of a DC’s toolkit. The ability to be understood while captivating attention is a critical influencer skill.

UX/Design – Understanding how to stay relevant in design will be key to maintaining the attention of people that find you. You’ve mastered the ability to be found through SEO and now you must focus on clean landing page designs to captivate the audience. UX changes from platform to platform – its important to understand the variance as well as the shifting trends as platforms evolve. Pay particular attention to VR – what will be the optimal design choices?

Graphic Design – There are no-code options for graphic design but to integrate strong UX you must be able to make customized design choices. The ability to build your own graphics on a small scale level will be important for saving time, money and developing landing pages that captivate audiences.

Video & Audio Production – increasingly relevant forms of digital communication. The digital economy is still in a development stage but what is clear is the ability to capture attention is critical. Each person only has so much time during the day so its important to be able to produce more than written content to capture more time from a person. In time, these will become more relevant than the written word and a savvy Digital Citizen will begin mastering these skills in preparation for wide scale VR adoption.

Data science – the study and process of making sense of unstructured data. For a Digital Citizen, data science supports making sense of the vast quantities of information, building filters and generating insights on the information gathered. It’s important to being able to find what you want as well as being found.

Logic – structured thinking and reasoning supports data science and is the fundamental backbone of structure for the internet. By understanding how to frame and position ideas, a Digital Citizen can effectively exist on the internet.

Python programming language -This will change in time but currently – Python is useful for gathering, organizing and leveraging large data sets. It also has general use applications such as building search engines and the ability to establish self automating functions.

As the internet becomes more dynamic and information grows, the ability to organize, filter, make use of data, and ultimately automate the process are essential skills for positioning yourself for influence.

The trend of No-Code software will ultimately eliminate the need to learn many of these skills. Video production, design, and coding will ultimately be supported by tools that do not require sophisticated levels of programming languages to support the needs of Digital Citizens.

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