Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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A cracked iPhone — the horror

As I was enjoying a lovely Saturday of a long weekend, I took my dog to meet her other doggie friend at a lovely little place called Chase Farm in Lincoln, RI. I had an outer shirt which had a pocket that was perfect for my month-old iPhone, so off we went for a lovely morning. Until I got into the parking lot, decided it was too hot and took off my outer shirt, which regrettably, contained my iPhone. Bad move! The incredible piece of technology that has quickly come to feel as if it is an extension of myself fell out of the pocket and of course landed on its beautiful, flawless touchscreen.

I gingerly reached down and picked up my prized possession, only to find a diagonal crack along its face. Marred, scarred, ugh! How could I have been so stupid, so careless? Now, with crazy dog pulling me relentelessly to see her little male canine companion, I had no choice but to continue on with my day as planned, cracked iPhone or not. The good news — it was still working, and perfectly at that!

As soon as our trek was complete, I did a little research only to find that this is a common problem. And now I feel the panic welling up thinking of the time I may have to spend separated from this ingenious little invention while it is repaired. If you’ve experienced this horror, please let me know what I can expect in the coming days as I plan to deliver my precious bundle for some badly needed repairs.


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How quickly we adapt

It always amazes me how quickly we adapt to new technologies, and how fast we forget how to do things without it. When I see “there’s a problem, don’t panic” showing up in the lower corner of my TweetDeck dashboard, of course I panic. What else am I going to do? How am I going to find out what is going on? How am I going to tweet out those 140 characters that must be tweeted RIGHT NOW!?! The same is true when our intranet goes down at work. I need to call someone, but I can’t look up their number on the intranet… what do I do? I PANIC!

Technology has made our lives so much easier. I remember the first time I sat down at a PC to do word processing and thought, “This is amazing! No typos that require white out?!?” (Wow, I’m really giving away my age on this post.) And then there was that amazing invention of the fax machine. How cool was that? Of course the Internet was too big to even comprehend, and let’s not forget the predictions of it being a fad!

Yet we’ve quickly adapted to the leaps and bounds that technology has taken and we’ve gobbled up every bit of it and made it a vital part of our lives. So much so, that we’re at a complete loss when something happens to that technology. We’ve become completely dependent on the technologies available to us today.

A few weeks ago, we had a major issue with our network at work, that resulted in many hours of incredible work by our IS department to get the entire network up and running again. But in the midst of that, I found myself in a media crisis needing to write a media statement with no PC available. I reached back into the recesses of my mind and remembered that bizarre machine that was sitting in a lunchroom, virtually unnoticed every day. So here I was, sitting in front of a dinosaur IBM Selectric, with no functioning correction tape, of course, trying to write a media statement about our technology going on the fritz. Ironic, no?

My point? Technology is a wonderful thing, but I think we need to remember that technology fails, and we’d better have a back-up plan. So my question to you… what would you do if the Internet suddenly crashed, just for a day. Would you be able to function and do your normal day’s routine? Can’t wait to hear what you’d do. Comments please!


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Connectivity

I was talking to my mother this morning. My parents recently switched their cable/phone/internet provider and were having all kinds of trouble, including billing issues. They were also billed by their insurer for shots that should have been covered. In both cases, when they tried to get help from the company, they were greeted by the ever-so-popular “press 1 for…” And of course, in both cases, many minutes were spent attempting to actually speak to a live person.

That got me thinking about our “connected” world. Technology has created a lifestyle that generations before us never thought possible. We may not have the hover cars of the Jetsons (yet, though I’m still waiting for them!), but our techie lives have created a generation that is always accessible, available, and in contact. We’re connecting through posts on Facebook with friends, family and, in some cases, customers and clients. We’re constantly checking and responding to e-mails. Tweets can inform millions what we think, how we feel, or what we ate for breakfast. FourSquare is telling everyone where we are. We can be reached by phone wherever we go because they’ve taken on the American Express tag line–we don’t leave home without them. We are connected like no generation before us.

This same technology is allowing companies to reach out to customers and connect with them, frankly, honestly, openly, without the corporate messaging. It’s a whole new playing field in which everyone with a keyboard has a voice, and will be heard. And it also gives us an excuse to forget how things were done in the past, because we are so focused on using all those tools that are available to us today. We can e-mail a thought to a client at 2 a.m knowing they’ll receive it first thing in the morning. We can respond to a customer who didn’t like our services through a tweet while we’re running to a meeting. We can hold meetings through web cams from across the country. We can watch the video of a family reunion that we were unable to attend. This connectivity has freed us and given us more ways of interacting with so many people in our lives.

But it’s important to remember that a post on Facebook is no replacement for a hug from a parent, laughs shared over a glass of wine with a dear friend, or a handshake with a client. The connectivity has given us a virtual world, but it’s not a replacement for in-person experiences. Those can never be replaced.