Media Perspective: Hands up who still thinks digital is just another medium?

There are little things people say that give me all sorts of palpitations. "I like Boris, he's fun" is one. "See you in Cannes" is another.

They make me want to run away. Another is: "We understand digital, it's just another medium." That's always a scary one, though it's useful, too. Useful in the way those blarey siren noises are handy when spaceships are about to be hit by missiles. Eject! Eject!

If you hear that, you know you're in for a difficult conversation. The problem is that while the whole bucket of digital does include other media things, it's a lot more than just another medium because getting it right means changing all sorts of corporate behaviour.

Doing digital stuff well isn't hard if you're an open, flexible, curious, decentralised business. But if you're not, it's a bugger.

That's why some companies are so far ahead of the rest; they're not smarter, they just have cultures that are more suited to digital behaviour. And the people who are catching them up aren't doing it by sticking an iMac in reception, they're changing their behaviour to match their digital aspirations. But what's going to be really exciting is when we finally burst into that tantalising post-digital world that seems so close.

Doing digital well teaches us such good communicative habits and I can't wait to see what happens when those habits and attitudes hit more traditional, physical, media. I'd love to see it when media planners who've grown up with Google Analytics really get to grips with print. I know some people who are working on building social networks into cars - I can't wait to see that working.

And there's one fascinating thing that's already happening - a company that's trying to take the spamminess out of direct mail and invent what you might think of as "viral objects". They're doing it via a lovely cardboard box-thing called "Matter". It's about the size of a very fat magazine. Nestled within Matter are all sorts of promotional doo-dahs provided by various companies, what the Americans have taken to calling "schwag".

They're all the sort of little, fun things you might just find interesting or useful, and that you're predisposed towards because you asked to get the box and they come with all this other stuff, which somehow makes the whole thing more delightful. Matter feels a little like the future to me. Have a look for yourself at

It's not perfect, certainly, the quality of the stuff in the box will have to improve if it's going to have long-term value, but it's symptomatic of something we're all going to have to think about. How do we take digital thinking and embed it into everything we do? It's not just another medium.