Robert Cartwright, lecturer and researcher in digital communications

Hi! My name is Rob Cartwright. I come from an acreage outside of Calgary, Canada. I started my career working in oil and gas and made the leap of faith to pursue a Research Masters Degree in Persuasive Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Then, transferred to teaching, where I find more alignment with my personal values and ethics. I teach at the ICM programme and on the courses of Digital Communications and research.

Passion for the digital

I’ve always has a passion for the digital and technological world. Now knowing about communication theories, I find it even more fascinating at how technology can effect communications, effect our psychology, and the benefits and consequences within. I published research looking at the effects of product placements—even these are small subtle pieces of communication that can effect us without us knowing about it!

From Pepe the Frog to AR/VR

Digital communication to me, means transmitting a message to a sender beyond face-to-face. It means the new languages of internet memes (e.g., grumpy cat, to even the evolution of Pepe the Frog from harmless cartoon to dog-whistle), asynchronous messages, messages that the received can personalize themselves (add captions, speed up, rewatch). And now entering the age of AR/VR: it’s just so exciting! It’s also very interesting that digital communications now bring metrics and analyses—so we can better understand whether our messages are effective at engaging our audiences… or not!  

Digital communication skills

Curiosity is definitely the biggest skill needed for digital communication! Both in a sense for new technologies, and a research type of brain in which you’re interested in testing new communications messages, platforms, channels, apps, and using engagement numbers to “prove” your inner hypotheses. Sorry. Huge research nerd here.   

Advice for students?

Take a course on Google Analytics. The communication field is desperate for people that understand numbers, metrics, and how to communicate this to people. If you’re more interested in the content creation side, now is the perfect time to start your YouTube, podcast, Tik Tok, Twitch, or digital platform.  

Your experience being part of Wasted Tales?

I loved it! It was professional from start to finish and it would be so cool to see expanded reach for this podcast. Imagine it charting on Spotify, or even just used in classrooms beyond THUAS! I could see a very fabulous telestration form of it as well. (Okay, but could you imagine it as a broadcast cartoon?)

It was an incredible opportunity and I am very grateful for Nat and Kim involving me to bring Will to life. I’m excited for future growth of Wasted Tales; and see if there are opportunities to involve myself in the research side of Mission Zero.