Digital Essays: Introduction - Digital division

I suspect that readers of this supplement will fall into one of two categories. One half of you will be digital evangelists. Not only have you been blogging since wi-fi broadband became available in coffee shops, but you'll have a YouTube account, and your Facebook 'friends' count hit triple figures sometime in 2006.

Then there is the other half. The sceptical, the hesitant, the 'this is all a flash in the pan' or the 'here we go again' merchants.

If you fall into the latter camp, digital could mean absolutely anything. Is it about having a half-decent web page? Is it about social networking? What the hell is Bebo anyway?

Not only does the baffling new lexicon of web 2.0 confuse you, the idea of having to integrate any of this into your tried and trusted PR models is slightly terrifying.

A client wants a viral. Do you call a broadcast production company or a doctor?

Meanwhile, the evangelists are laughing all the way to the bank. For now anyway. A bit of technical know-how aside, all they are really doing is managing their clients' reputations through recently developed media channels. This is what PROs did when TV was invented and the first consumer magazine hit the newsagents' shelves. The rules of word-of-mouth and third-party endorsement still apply; you just have to update the model a little.

But the question remains: is this really enough?

So for the sceptics, the next 20 pages will show you how it's done. We feature some of the very best thinking from digital communicators and marketers.

And for the evangelists? Sorry guys, your secrets are about to be revealed... but this is a debate that just won't stand still.

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