I recently celebrated my 31st birthday, which, in today’s world, qualifies me to begin sentences with the phrase “back in my day.” I admit this begrudgingly; back in my day, it seemed that statement was reserved for an individual well out of his or her 30s. Still, from time to time, I do find myself sounding a bit curmudgeonly. No, I never claim to walk uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow to school, but I do sometimes struggle to grasp the rate at which technology has changed life since I was in school.
Over the past decade, technology exploded, and although the changes affected countless areas of our lives, they all had the same common thread: the sharing of information. We are a society saturated with data; individuals are in constant connection with one another, and details on virtually any topic can be obtained in a matter of seconds.
Why does that have to do with business? These connections have evolved from innocuous social interaction to business-relevant posting capable of promoting or destroying an organization’s reputation in a matter of minutes. The trend is the wave of the future. In the informed, well-connected prosumer, it has created what can either be a strong ally or an unstoppable adversary. Fortunately, as technology increases, so does its usability. Gone are the days when “I don’t know how” was a viable excuse; the response now will be “well, you’d better Google it.”
There are some steps we old folks can take to keep current, and they are steps that will build a foundation on which your organization can effectively evolve:
- Blog – Hey, I’m doing it, how bad can it be? Blogging about your company lets the world know that you are there, that you are thinking, and that you are a human being.
- Use social networking sites – And not just those aimed at the professional population. Facebook may still be banned by your IT department, but it is likely the best medium on the planet through which to reach young adults. Set up a page for your organization and regularly post relevant material and links to new product information.
- E-mail – You’re probably thinking “E-mail? I do use e-mail.” I’m sure you do, but probably not to the capacity at which younger professionals wish you would. The technology boom resulted in youth with little desire to physically interact with anyone else. Even at 31, my first reaction to most events is to try to get someone on the phone; I would just rather talk to them. That is not a sentiment shared by those a bit younger than me; more often than not, I receive an e-mail in lieu of a call back when I have left someone a voicemail.
- Update your website weekly, if not daily.
Heraclitus coined that “change is the only constant,” and while this has proven true, there has perhaps never been a period marked by such rapid change as the present. As humans we must now continually adapt, as what is new today will not just be old tomorrow, it will be archaic. Stay current my friends.