Easy, I know, I know! We make interactive media.
Ok, that is an alright answer for people in our cozy Flash community bubble... but what about for the other 99.9% percent of the population? How do you explain to them what we do?
It is not as easy as it sounds. Don't believe me? What do you answer when your Aunt asks you what you do for a living? Seriously, you can't say I am a Flash Developer and expect to get anything back besides a blank stare and maybe an "oh, that is nice".
I know I am not the only one who gets this response. Go to ActionScriptHero and read how people introduce themselves... it is pretty entertaining.
It seems that most people don't want to try to explain it and just settle with the most generic answers possible: "I work with computers" or "I make websites". OK, I guess that is true. But when I hear "I work with computers" I think IT. And when I hear "I make websites" I think of static corporate sites.
If you pick either of those answers to use at the bar, are you getting follow up questions? I doubt it. Move along now, this guy is boring.
Whats funny tho is if our media outlet of choice was TV instead of computers, the response would be completely different. Answering "I make commercials" would receive a completely different response than answering "I make websites". People get excited about TV. They want to know more, they want to be close to it, learn about it. It intrigues them.
Why is it not the same for the web? TV and the web are merging... they both are part of the entertainment industry. We can do everything TV does, plus make that shit move, personalize it, and add Bling Bling. Yet, somehow making a national TV spot is much more interesting than making a national microsite or commercial game for the same company.
The only reason I can come up with for this is that people don't understand what we do and we are inept at explaining it. "Interactive Media" is not a household term. "Microsites" might as well be a foreign language. If we can't use those words as a foundation, how can we possibly expect to get someone to understand "Flash Development".
Here is the solution I propose: We replace the words "interactive media" (since they are bound to make your listener to fall asleep instantly) with "cool shit". So what does a Flash Developer do? We make cool shit.
I dunno if Oxford will accept that answer tho... admittedly, "cool shit" may not be the answer. But what is? How do we get people to understand our industry and recognize it as being as interesting as the rest of the entertainment industry?