When i was at Learning Live the other week, one of the presenters was talking about the technological changes they’ve seen in their lifetime. They were saying that technology has made us busy, that there’s just so much going on now that it’s hard to keep up. They painted a picture of us living in a maelstrom of tasks and connections that are getting ever faster, swirling around like water down the drain.
But is that true? Does technology make us busier, or are these just the realities of the Social Age? Is being more connected a bad thing? Does technology make us busy, or does it help us surf on the tide of change and connectivity?
For me, it’s the latter: technology enables us. It makes me able to achieve more than i ever could without it. Technology supports learning, it supports performance, it supports the formation of communities and the sharing of information within those communities in service of creating meaning, the thing that counts in the Social Age.
I see the change as good: my grandmother used to talk about horses and carriages on the roads when she was a child. I grew up without mobile phones and owned a computer with 4mb of RAM that was top of the range. Technology does not make us busy: it enables us to reach out so much further than we could without it.
There are challenges: as technology transforms the infrastructure, so too social technologies change how we interact. The very nature of work is changing: an evolving relationship between employer and employee, the death of the office.
Like it or loath it, we can’t ignore it. In so many areas, from attitudes to home working, to social media policies, to approaches to social leadership and performance support in learning, we have to adapt, we have to change.
Only agile businesses and individuals can thrive in the Social Age: it’s not technology that makes us busy, that makes us fail, it’s mindset.