Tag Archives: technology

Is anything “real” these days?

6 Sep

 

 

The internet has spawned an “International Attention Crisis” where people worldwide are addicted to constant (24×7) updates and instant gratification by social media, email, voice mail, and other “indirect” (i.e., non-face-to-face) contact with others.

 

Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or even car, these days and you’ll seldom find anyone to talk to – in person that is – and you’ll find the same with everyone else.  It’s as if we’ve all become zombie slaves to our electronic connection tools.

 

Sometimes I wonder if there is really any communication happening in person today… except on reality TV shows where fantasy and reality blend seamlessly to convince us that non-communication in our homes and personal lives is okay.

 

Tell me what is real and what is fantasy in these situations:

 

– People sitting at the same table in a restaurant or bar (who are in-person friends) all texting others who are not there;

 

– Drivers in cars watching their smart phone screens instead of traffic all around them;

 

– Children who text their parents from their rooms instead of walking into the same room to talk;

 

– Facebook members who brag about having 5000+ “friends” when research proves that the human mind can accommodate a mere 150-or so friend relationships;

 

– People who call out or disrespect others using Facebook because they lack the guts to communicate directly;

 

– Unlimited texting is more popular than unlimited talk on cell phones;

 

– Twitter is replacing email systems as the preferred method for some corporate communications;

 

– When you meet someone they ask you if you are on Facebook or Twitter before they ask for your phone number or other contact information;

 

– People know you by your photo on social media and don’t recognize you in person;

 

– Interactive voice recognition (IVR) computer systems block access to real people when you need help desk support – sometimes there is no possible way to reach a live human being who can solve your problem;

 

– The only way to bypass circular menu systems and reach a live person at banks or cell phone providers is to say “Cancel service”;

 

– When people say “I’ll call you right back” it usually means they are bored of talking to you and will often text instead of calling back;

 

– “Events” from Facebook or social media fill out your social calendar where you mingle with mostly people you don’t care to meet again;

 

– Life becomes more isolated, more self-reliant, more independent, and less connected (even though it seems you are ultra-connected!)

 

Perhaps it is a sign that I am getting old, but I long for the days gone by when people went to restaurants and bars to meet and mingle rather than post photos and check-in on Facebook.  I’d like to go out “with” people who are not tethered, have a real date with a guy who isn’t constantly checking his email, and have good conversation with friends who are truly interested in my life and vice versa.

 

While it does happen from time to time, the reality is that nothing that was real yesterday (true communication, compassion, connection, and genuine interest) is real today.  Technology is supposed to be a communication “enabler” but I’m wondering just what kind of “enabling” it is really doing to our life today.

 

Is anything (or anyone) real these days or are we all living in the fantasy of virtual communication?

 

Wishing you genuine connections with real-life people!

 

Carol

 

 

Balancing what I know with what I don’t…

20 Apr

In many ways I feel like I am living a “Benjamin Buttons” life

(a reference to the circa 2009 movie of the same name where a baby was born as an old man and progressively got younger as he chronologically aged).  I married young, had two wonderful children in my 20’s, and now enjoy a single life where I love myself, appreciate good friends, and am grateful for health, work, career and a happy life.

In many ways I feel like I’m living my 20’s today – I have the freedom I never had when I was married or raising children to go out whenever and wherever – and I love it.

Along with my youthful outlook is maturity, and I realize just how much I do not know about life or the world!  Maybe that is the beauty of my current life and my place in it!  I know what I know (professional expertise) and I am learning everyday that there is so much that I don’t know (and maybe never will).

  • I know that friends come and go, but I don’t know when new ones will come and old ones will leave.  Somehow there is always a balance of good friends that is just short of 5 at any one time.
  • I know that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be fair or balanced.  I have no idea why this is so.
  • I know that it is more than okay to be me and to love being so!  Since I am not a child, I do not understand why others seek to change me (for my own good.)
  • I know that I am a giving and generous person (who often put others first to my detriment).  I do not know (and am learning that it doesn’t matter) what others think of me.
  • I know that my perceptions and feelings are valid, just are those of others. I do not know or purport to know what goes on in anyone else’s head.
  • I used to think I knew about love, and now I know that I know nothing at all.
  • I know that I know very little about human behavior aside from my own.
  • I know that I do not like conflict, loss, confrontation, accusations or cruelty.  And I know that there are people who do.
  • I know not to take things that people do or say to me personally (it is more about them and their experience), but it still feels personal. I do not know how to perfect this practice.
  • I know that I will never be able to predict (with any accuracy or precision) the reactions of others.
  • I know that girlfriends are the joy and stability of life.
  • I know that there are reasons that people from my past did not make it into my present.
  • I know that mean doesn’t go away and fortunately, neither does nice.
  • I know that friends can be the family we CHOOSE for ourselves.
  • I know that there is no guarantee that siblings will be friends.
  • I know that people are always surprising – sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad.
  • I know that change is the natural state.  I do not know how to make more of the good things last longer and the bad ones disappear.
  • I know that for every “get rich quick” scheme there are people who were taken.
  • I know that I am grateful for the people, places, pets, nature, parents, children, and friends who grace my life today.
  • I know that they will not always be there tomorrow.
  • I know that I don’t know what I don’t know…

When I was younger, I used to think I knew more about life than I did not.  Today I think just the opposite.  Maybe that is a sign of maturity – or maybe it is proof that I am young at heart!  And I am quite happy to know that I have so much more to learn.

Have a good week!

Carol

Share
//

Reliance is unreliable…

15 Oct

Do you know that the only person you can ever rely on 100% is you?

This obvious realization came crystal clear to me this week as multiple situations (that relied on the response of others) came to a head and had a variety of outcomes. At the end of the week, I find myself seeking to reduce my reliance on others – it’s just too unreliable!

I must be an eternal optimist because even though the situation keeps repeating itself (people promise and then don’t deliver)… and still I trust the next person who promises to do something.  I’m finding the situation getting worse as the recession continues!

Don’t you wonder sometimes what happened to the work ethic of yesterday where people DID what they said they’d do?  More and more often the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz emerge – especially agreement #2 – Don’t take ANYTHING personally.  It is a difficult challenge (for me at least) to realize that some people simply disappoint by not following through on what they promise – and they do so with everyone, everywhere.  It is not a personal affront – but it does feel personal when it happens repeatedly to you.

Here’s rundown of my week (and this is NOT atypical):

  • Three weeks ago I won tickets to a local concert from a radio station, and for three weeks I’ve tried to coordinate to pick up the tickets.  Twenty-one days later and exactly 24 hours before the event, I finally received the tickets despite multiple promises to mail them, deliver them, leave them at a predetermined place and tens of phone calls, voice mails, emails, and insisting that I would have the tickets imminently.
  • A client I’ve worked with for two years gave me specific instructions for submitting course evaluations to them which they in turn would deliver to the end-user.  I did my part immediately and they promised to send the papers to the user within a day. A week and a half later the end-user issues a statement blaming me for not sending the papers – and my client contact confesses that they sent an email to the end-user but neglected to attach the needed documents over a week ago.
  • I made arrangements with a hotel to ship leftover documentation from a class back to a client.  The hotel promised to do so but said client never receives it.  Multiple phone calls and emails to the hotel and then back and forth with the client finally got the hotel to deliver on their original promise to ship the materials – almost two weeks later.
  • An international conference where I am presenting a keynote speech in two weeks promises to put up the program on their website for months now.  After multiple emails asking for an update, the conference finally confesses that it wasn’t a big priority to them, and finally their travel agent contacts me to make travel arrangements (only 2 weeks out from the conference).

The amount of rework, babysitting to make sure promises are kept, follow-up with emails, voice mails, phone calls and meetings is absolutely out of control these days.  Actions speak louder than words – and it seems more and more today that words are just wishful thinking of actions that may or may not ever occur.

What’s your experience?  Do you find yourself having to followup an email 5 or 6 times (at least) before you receive an answer?  And leaving multiple voice mails before you ever (if ever) receive a response?

Have you discovered any great remedial actions that increase responsiveness or do you just “suck it up” and don’t hold your breath when someone promises to do something and then routinely neglects to follow through?

Wishing you a successful and streamlined end of your work week!

Regards,
Carol

Blogs, blogs and more blogs…

18 Aug

I read somewhere on the internet (so it must be true right?) that there are now MILLIONS of blogs on the internet and the number grows every day.

What’s interesting beyond the sheer numbers is that most blogs are mundane, obscure and invisible.  Blogs are today’s generation’s version of technology “landfills”.  I wonder what earth dwellers in 500 years will think of the internet clutter and garbage that it out in cyberspace: will they see us as neanderthals with technology or will there be a glimmer of hope that today’s humanity had good things to share and a positive spin on life?

I read today that one high school locally (Florida) will give their students with Kindle readers pre-loaded with a number of textbooks (at the school’s expense) to save on back strain (from backpacks filled with books) and on paper printing (by having virtual books). A novel idea (pardon the pun) that shows just how much of today’s student population is attuned to technology solutions.  In many ways I feel like I’ve turned into my mother with so many young people entering the workforce today (I’m feeling old) – yet I cannot imagine ever making enough money to recoup financial missteps of the past and be able to retire before 80.

blogGiven technology, social media, endless supply of money and prosperity (along the lines of “Think and Grow Rich”, and “The Secret” concepts), there must be a way to parlay existing blogs into some form of financial income (or at least find a way to do so in the future with published works on blogs).  But, I’m just not sure – it just seems like we have more and more people out of work and hoping to make a quick buck off of you, me and the internet – and blogs and blog superheroes seem to be emerging everywhere.

The question for me is with blogs, blogs and more blogs – does it really make a difference in the world? (Now I REALLY sound like my mother).  Will life tomorrow be in any little way better than life today because of my blog (or anyone else’s for that matter)?

Instead of creating more blogs, perhaps we should create more human connections, spend more time talking to one another in person, and celebrating the fact that we all share the same wonderful planet.  Just a thought for a forlorn Wednesday on a hot Florida summer afternoon.

Have a great week!

Carol

For more information on Carol and upcoming speaking engagements, visit www.qualityplustech.com and http://www.caroldekkers.com.

Share/Bookmark

=======Copyright 2010, Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED =======

Women in Technology – Novelty or Mainstay?

19 Apr

I attended a unique conference on the weekend for techies (our name badges had the slogan “You might be a techie if…”) called Barcamp – and sessions were ad hoc for the most part and arranged depending on who attended. The concept of creating a conference on the fly might sound disorganized or unplanned, but it was one of the most innovative and educational days I’ve spent in a long time.

One of the reasons I attended was that I was invited by the Barcamp Sarasota lead organizer, Sara Hand, to be on a panel of Women in Technology.  It was a great discussion involving both men and women that spanned generations (all five generations now in the workplace were represented) and included multiple ethnicities.  Students from the Sarasota high school where it was held joined in to talk about their experiences in technology and seasoned veteran business owners in their 60’s (and younger) were also involved.

We talked about the challenges, opportunities, strides, and experiences that face us all today regardless of race, gender, creed or culture with the ongoing “flattening” of the technology world.

It was interesting to find the following NY Times article link in my inbox this morning on the very topic of Women in Technology — describing how a seasoned and highly qualified female technology company owner in Silicon Valley faced serious and biased discrimination when she sought financing for a start-up business.

Titled Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley – the article provides an up-to-date and somewhat disappointing report on how gender inequality still resides in technology.

What’s your opinion?  Have you seen, been a part of, or experienced such a situation?  I know that the percentage of women entering engineering and computer science is as low as its been for decades, but somehow I “assumed” that things were changing.  Do you think that women in technology are still a novelty or are we a mainstay today?

Let me know what you’ve seen!

Wishing you a successful unbiased week.

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

%d bloggers like this: