Explaining a digital career to your grandparents

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means a couple of things. Lots of food (and thankfulness) to go around. A little family awkwardness. And another year of trying to explain to your older relatives what the heck it is that you do for a living. As a digital strategist, my parents still think I’m in IT.

Well, this is the year that you earn your place alongside Cousin Steve the Radiologist and Aunt Janice the Attorney. Here’s a guide to explaining a digital career to your relatives this Thanksgiving, in a way they might actually understand.

Data Analyst
“Have you noticed how the Internet seems to be getting ‘smarter?’ How when you’re browsing your Facebook news feed, you’re shown an advertisement for a pair of shoes you were looking at on the Macy’s site, or you check the weather in the morning and it automatically shows you information for your city? Well, people like me are behind this. We make sure our company can see exactly about what our customers are doing online – what they’re clicking on, what products they’re looking at – and make recommendations on ways to close the sale, or keep you around on the site longer.”

CRM Manager
“You know how you always get that $15 off coupon for DSW on your birthday? Or sometimes companies will e-mail you a reminder that you’ve left an item in your online shopping cart? I am the person who makes sure we’re collecting all the right information from customers, like their birthday or their interests, and send them communications to keep them interested in visiting our site or buying from us again.”

UX Designer
“What I do is sort of similar to designing a building. Let’s say, an airport. Remember how difficult it was to find your way around the Atlanta airport when you landed? How the experience was totally overwhelming and confusing, and the signs weren’t helpful? Well, I help simplify experiences by making websites easy to navigate – making sure they’re simple, and offer cues along the way to help you get where you need to go.”

Content Strategist
“What would you rather watch on TV – an obnoxious advertisement for a car dealership, or an entertaining and informative news program about the latest car models on the market? Of course you’d rather skip the ads and get to the programming! I help brands be more entertaining and informative with their online content, so it looks more like editorial articles or programming. That way, people are more likely to engage with your brand and stick around to learn more about your products.”

Social Media Manager
“You know how the grandkids are constantly messing around on their smartphones and posting those selfies? Yeah, people actually get paid to be the expert on the programs they use and how they use them. I am one of those people.”

Have you ever been able to explain a digital career to your grandparents, or do they still think of you as “the one who fixes computers?” Leave a comment and share your story!

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