“Digital”, noun

Minister of State for Digital, responsibilities

I tweeted a bit about the name change of the UK government Department for Culture, Media and Sport to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport yesterday. I started off with a throwaway remark about the ongoing transition of the word “digital” to becoming a noun, rather than an adjective.

I think I understand, a little, why this has taken off in some quarters, especially in the civil service and government. It seems, to me, to be about capturing, with one word, the array of, sometimes, loosely related activities undertaken by folks who may have ‘digital’ in their job/unit title and the sorts of things that come under banners such as “digital transformation”.

“Digital” in such contexts might be seen as a managerial or organisational term that describes particular kinds of institutional function/activity. Some of these might have been called something else, previously, but some of the things signified by “digital” are hard to otherwise define, hence the co-opting of an adjective as a noun.

There’s loads more to say about this, but I’m sort of writing this post as a reminder to return to this stuff… maybe…

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