Articles

Fall 2008 Inspiration

http://www.smpsatl.org/resources/newsletter/Inspiration_Fall2008.pdf 

Happy New Year! It is a new SMPS year, and we have a lot in store for you. SMPS-Georgia is now SMPS Atlanta. We changed our name last month to better reflect the location of our events and the majority of our members who live and work in the metro Atlanta area. Please be sure to update your address books and web bookmarks – our new web address is www.smpsatl.org and we can be reached with your feedback at [email protected]

Get with the Program

If you've seen the movie WALL-E, raise your hand. That's what I thought, quite a few of you. I am very afraid that the depiction of human beings in this movie may actually come true one day. For those of you who haven't seen the film, picture a cruise ship turned into a space vessel on a permanent voyage somewhere in outer space. Technology has advanced so far that each individual literally has to do nothing - not even stand up. Every individual is an obese blob of inactivity moving around in a personal hover craft with a holographic-like display screen less than two feet in front of him or her. The only visible activities carried out by the average person are talking (incessantly to too many people at once), listening (passively to multiple sources at once), staring (at screens while missing out on most everything else going on), and pushing buttons (which can make anything happen). I do not want to go there.

You may be surprised to learn that this entry is about social networking and media. Where the heck did that term come from anyway, and why did it only get popular AFTER technology existed to "enable" it? OK, let's get on track here. I am NOT your typical user. I'm actually writing this on my own Google Documents account (http://docs.google.com) from a computer that currently serves my personal network (hebblethwaite.net) as a spam filtration system (www.nospamtoday.com) before sending incoming emails to a Scalix Server (www.scalix.com) running on a Fedora Core 4 linux box (http://fedoraproject.org/) - yeah, I know version 10 is out now, just call me old school. That being said, I do have some concerns about the role technology is playing in our lives. At the end of the day, I want to be in control of technology, not vice versa. I want technology to support and improve human relationships, not degrade them.

Judging by the plethora of webinars, conference sessions, and "experts" that are now available to teach you about social networking, I will assume that some of you still have NOT begun using one of the following: LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, twitter, Plaxo, and who knows what tomorrow. This composition will not teach you how to do those things. What I want to do is challenge your value strategies related to the tools themselves.

  • How are you using them to improve the visibility and positioning of your firms, your services, your people?
  • Are you doing things in one online community that you'd prefer NOT to be seen by members of another (good luck with that)?
  • How much time do you spend staring at screens compared to actually talking to other human beings in meaningful purpose-driven conversations that actually produce results?

 

Look, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade. I love the fact that my LinkedIn profile (http://tinyurl.com/cfpjkw) is 75% complete (after being at 60% for months); that 10,526 people have joined my network since April 24; that when I google myself, the first 30 links are about me, not the other Kevin Hebblethwaite; and that if I really want to I can follow Ashton Kutcher's every move (http://twitter.com/aplusk). I do wonder however, how much more information we can really take. Sooner or later we actually have to plan, design, and build great projects. Who's going to do that if we're all tweeting and texting all the time?

I simply would like to be convinced that there is a story in the continuing progress of technology that does NOT end with a scenario similar to the opening shot aboard the Axiom in WALL-E. I challenge you to seriously think through your personal and professional strategies on social media and networking. Do everything you can to make them help you, not hinder you.
This is too funny - I guess writing a google doc while generating tinyURLs while searching for myself all over the Web while trying to listen to U2's new release (a really great album, www.u2.com) is just a little too much for my Pentium 4/256MB RAM computer. Maybe I need to get with the program.

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection, A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender, Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by and they did not notice me.

-Bono


Kevin Hebblethwaite, President
SMPS Atlanta Past President and EAC member
SMPS National Chapter Delegate

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