The Digital Renaissance Era

Don Giannatti
5 min readMay 25, 2023

Unleashing the Power of Generalists in the Digital Renaissance Era

Adobe Firefly. Prompt: a futuristic Renaissance man and woman with a computer

Digital Rennaissance.

What does that mean?

To me, it means that we are now on the other side of ‘gee, this is new’ and into the reality that digital IS the main industry we should be working in or at least with.

Just imagine what the thinkers, artists, and visionaries of yesteryear might think of today’s reality.

Would Marilyn Monroe have a Pinterest account?
Would Arthur Conan Doyle have a podcast?
Would Johnny Carson have a hit YouTube channel?

Would Marcus Aurelius have ten million followers on Twitter?
Would Ansel Adams be rocking MidJourney 5?

We tend to think of these people as those who would turn away from these modern things because we see them as new and different and not at all what they would have liked.

They had one ‘channel’ of success, and that is all they would ever want.

There seems to be a general notion that they would renounce this digital world, preferring seclusion in nature to all the new gizmos and tech offered now.

I think that is wrong.

Dead wrong.

Marilyn would be rocking Instagram and probably have a top YouTube channel, singing, dancing, and doing skits. She would be writing screenplays and getting feedback from her fans along the way.

Arthur Conan Doyle would be podcasting new mystery stories every week, interviewing other writers for his blog, while sending out newsletters with intriguing challenges for his Substack readers

Johnny Carson? YouTube shorts, Instagram reels, and his humor would be a morning staple for everyone on Twitter.

Marcus Aurelius would also likely be a Twitter star, as well as having several million people on his weekly Substack dispatch. His ebooks and courses would be legendary. And his “Daily Stoic” may give Ryan a run for his money.

Ansel would be treating us to “Half Dome on Mars” or “A still lake in mid-town San Francisco” on his popular photography and Photoshop blog, while teaching courses in the meaning of still images at Skillshare, and hosting virtual workshops with Zoom and YouTube Live.

I believe they would harness the yet-untamed power of the internet to expose their ideas, talents, and interests across the globe. They would be taking advantage of every tool at their disposal, every platform, every method — and so should we.

And while it is fun and somewhat interesting to wonder about, reality is standing in front of us like a wall of marbled glass. We can sort of see through it, but things are not clear.

Their combined legacies are clear, although we tend to think of them as quaint or “old school," when they weren’t old school at all when they were doing what they did so well.

They were simply limited to exposure on closed and gated platforms.

Would Carson tell the same jokes today? No.
Would Ansel take the same photos today? No.
Would Marcus Aurelius be saying the same things today? Yes, but maybe with a few added F-bombs for color.

They were in their time what Mr. Beast is in ours.

What are the legacies of today’s creative class?

The likes of Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, and Bill Maher have all contributed their unique threads to the ever-evolving cultural fabric.

But who will be the next-gen creators?

I’ll leave that for your imagination to contemplate. I have suspicions, and of course, I will be championing the new and wonderful creators I run across whenever possible.

I do, however, predict a significant shift in the direction of public intellectuals.

Our individual and cultural perceptions of esteemed figures will diversify. Our views will be influenced by societal needs, changing attitudes, and personal interests. Where there were few ways to access those who were innovators and high-level creators in earlier times, now there is no excuse to not have access to them.

You have access to the Internet.

For every Marcus Aurelius or Hunter Thompson, we might see ten Joe Rogans, each with their own distinct viewpoints and personas, attracting different types of followers. On different platforms. Creating totally different material. For a wide, diverse audience.

While they might distribute their teachings online, the content will differ considerably, thanks to their individual experiences. And our individual choices for access.

Some of us will get quick bites from Twitter, while others prefer long-form blog posts, and still others desire nothing more than a twelve-minute video — with notes they can copy.

Every creator will refine their expertise, attracting a unique cadre of learners who resonate with their teaching methodology and style.

As creators evolve, so will their followers.

As followers evolve, so will creators.

The shift will negate the issue of saturation in the creator economy, as life itself is never truly saturated, and we are all transitioning into a digital society.

The Birth of a True Digital Civilization

One thread is common among all those who’ve etched their names in history:

They were colossal creators of value.

They were the origins of knowledge, perspective, and insight.

They didn’t confine their thoughts to their limited cognitive space.

Instead, they expressed, marketed, and sold their potent ideas. That expression, and its sharing, formed the matrix of their worldview.

Today’s world offers a unique advantage, a unique perspective, and a level of choice never before seen by the people of our planet.

At no other time have we had so many choices before us.

Both as consumers of information and those who create it.

This is your time to make a difference. You can talk, write, photograph, paint, sculpt, compose, sing, play, or do whatever you do, and share it with the entire world.

You are not confined to one platform, one audience, or one silo of interest. You can do whatever you want, however you want, wherever you want.

It is an explosion of creativity growing quietly in small places all over the world. Have a laptop or just a phone, and creativity lies at your fingertips.

And you can now be part of this incredible creative growth.

You have a major, overwhelmingly huge advantage over those creators that came before.

What is that?

You have access to the Internet.

And that is the Digital Renaissance.


I’m Don Giannatti, a photographer, writer, designer, and educator. You can find me on my website, and at Substack.



Don Giannatti

Designer. Photographer. Author. Entrepreneur: Loving life at 100MPH. I love designing, making photographs and writing.