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Insidious Invasion of Technology

March 19, 2009
by Joe Bormel
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Perry Mason's iPhone

Insidious Invasion of Technology

From bamboo flutes (Shakuhachi) to blackberries

I'm driving into work yesterday. At a red light, I emailed meeting lead, asking for the final room location for a meeting later in the morning. The light changes, my BlackBerry's been put away. I turn on the radio for news and traffic.

The news? The Maryland legislature is proposing a law to prohibit texting (presumably SMS, and probably silent on email or Twits) while driving. They said explicitly, cell phone use, with a hands-free headset, would still be completely legal.

I get to my meeting. My team asks me if I was driving when I messaged with the room location question.

Two quick observations:

    1. See

    Preparing for the Work Ahead,

    John Halamka's blog entry today, here. First, some meta points.

      • If you've already seen this post, you're probably using Twitter.

        • If you're trying the understand and follow standards, certification, and all things emerging on ARRA-2009, and the HCIT issues with the stimulus package, following John (and a few other very well informed and relevant leaders) on Twitter is an option to consider.
        • His ideas about video conferencing are resonant with me. I get a lot of value from Skype video conferencing.
        • That said, I've found a majority of people who will not use it. If you're interested in pursuing that, post a comment.

        2. There's

        an article here, detailing the impact of technologies in the legal system. As we're hearing and seeing in other sectors of modern life,



        Twitter, and

        Google are changing the way we behave.

        It's an insidious invasion of technology. Both the early adopters and the laggards are emotionally defending their postures. They're both obscuring the bigger picture; there is no turning back. Arguments that we should or shouldn't are defocusing from the real work: deciding and implementing strategies to do our work as well (and safely) as possible.

        Although Halamka's conclusions are very salient, I couldn't relate to the Japanese flute Shakuhachi

        prioritization. Given the insidious invasion of technology, are you changing how you are preparing for the work ahead?



        Your post caught my eye right away Joe - I thought, "hey that looks like John Halamka!" And since I follow him on Twitter, I knew he was recently in Japan.

        We've covering the topic of social media (and it's growing use) in the May issue of HCI, and I have to say it's a subject I find really interesting. Tools like Twitter can be very valuable, particularly for busy individuals who communicate with hundreds of people on a daily basis and are "mobile". It just can't become your only mode of communication. I'm definitely going to keep my eye on this trend.

        One thing I like about Twitter is that it has a different vibe than sites like Facebook. You can keep in touch with many people, and show your personality while still looking like an adult. I've become a big fan of Twitter, and I found it really funny when I had to show my husband (who is younger than me) how to use it.

        Score one for the 70s club! (Those of us born in the 70s)

        Eloquently put. Not only is the divorce rate 50%, the rate of colleagues falling down the rat hole you described is at least as high.

        I posted a comment to Gwen's Social Media 101: Blogging, Part Two: Do You Have What It Takes? (3/20/2009)

        There, I elaborate on the work-life balance and provide a few links I've found helpful. Most sophisticated bloggers have taken on this topic, as you know. It's very relevant.

        I would, however, pushback on your comment. It's not a technology versus not-technology issue. It's a "COMPARED TO WHAT" issue.

        If you hadn't seen John's tweets on the topics we've discussed above and, for example, today's tweet on David Blumenfeld, what would have been the alternative cost to learn this without the new technology?

        Would you have received notice as early and authoritatively as Twitter provided. Would you have spend more time and mental energy?

        Would a media reporter had the gumption to address Rob Koldoner's critically important role through this transition?

        It's the 'Compared to What?' perspective that I think we need to look at. That can only follow being adequately informed on the technology. For many folks who haven't entered this digital age, it's truly a Chicken-and-Egg issue. I think your (HCI's) blogs go a long way to filling in the knowledge gap. Of course, I'm biased! ... I mean, objectively informed by data and experience.

        Joe. I read John's blog, as I'm follwing his Tweets. I found it very resonant and moving. Two things were apparent to me: HITECH/ARRA is going to change everything, AS PEOPLE ARE REORDERING THEIR LIVES TO DEAL WITH IT. And today's environment, and all the technologies you mention which make it possible to sink into one's work like a camel into quicksand, mean one must fight to keep a balance. Ingore your family and one day they won't be there. If you wind up being a salve to your emails and Tweets, they may be who you spend Christmas with.

        Thanks Kate.

        The founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, said, on a recent TEDtalk, that Twitter was simply intended to be an efficient method to send status update messages. (the video is less than 8 minutes and very clear and informative, if one is looking to understand Twitter, especially the business use potential and actual use.)

        This is simple and obviously entirely different from Facebook, as you know. I know a lot of people think that social media is more-or-less interchangable. So, blogging is like twitter is like MySpace is like EMC's eRoom.

        The most important message that's getting lost? Twitter is a solution to part of the email overload problem. ... if properly used.

        It's far better/faster/cheaper to get a Halamka tweet than the same content in email, mixed in with urgent messages from superiors, subordinates and clients.

        I applaud HCI for providing guidance and leadership. I'm looking forward to the May issue!