Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Plugged In

It's the age of 24/7 connection. These days, my phone can do just about everything that I do on my personal computer. We omit personal phone calls in exchange for text messages. The virtual world now allows hundreds of thousands of people to choose where they want to live without worrying about where they work. Technology is moving faster and everything seems instantaneously obsolete, yet there are moments when I wonder if we're moving forward or backward.

Sometimes I wonder what human interaction will look like when I have kids. My mom used to believe that when she drove my brother and I to school, that was her time to interact and teach us values. We couldn't jump out of the car, so she had a captive audience. These days, mom is on the phone and baby has a TV to keep entertained. What happened?

I found myself contemplating the virtual landscape the other day at work. Technology has helped companies that are spread across the states and world interact. However, has "efficient" technology led to its own inefficiencies? An email exchange that could be solved with a 60 second phone call will go on for days because no one wants to pick up the phone. E-learning activities are the fancy word for go 'learn'. Yet some people learn from reading, writing or a mixture of both. Retention of information is often not easy unless you apply it. Answering 20 questions at the end of an e-learning course does not prove that you learned the material, simply that your short term memory is good enough to recall it.

Webinars, while undoubtedly helpful, will never beat a live meeting. I think I fade faster in the virtual world than I do in a live presentation. It's hard to read your audience in the virtual world and thus it becomes so much more important that people speak up. Further, I think conversations need to be stronger in the virtual world as to not duplicate work. What are your assumptions? What EXACTLY is your end goal or desire? Sometimes, I don't think the asker even knows. In face to face meetings it seems much easier to define. Perhaps that's because for that second, there really is a captitive audience. And in today's plugged in world, everyone always seems to be multi-tasking, which, in my opinion, is an oxymoron. You're simply saying that not one item or person is getting your undivided attention. Just a different way to look at it.

1 comment:

Atish said...

couldn't agree more. and i also think that most of the time we just use the connected technologies feeling that its absolutely critical (we Have to read the news on our phone, we Have to update that status while driving...) to our existence.
but once you are forced not to do it (say, go to a place without 24 hour connectivity), you realize you are absolutely fine without it!