Digital Lifestyle anyone?


Tech Trek Log – 2010.02.04

I’ve watched a Frontline documentary titled Digital Nation from PBS channel which discusses the social implications of a connected lifestyle. Of particular interest that relates to this blog is a segment that features IBM employees using Second Life for virtual meetings.

Since collaborative technology is an area I specialized, it begs the question whether this is the future of unified communications (UC), or will it be a short-term trend. More importantly, we should be asking the changes it introduces for a “work anywhere, anytime” environment and its impact to work-life balance:

  • Do we really have more time with our family with such innovations?
  • Are virtual meeting choices like email, instant messaging (IM), and web conferences (Skype, GoTo Meetings or WebEx) more effective rather than travelling and speaking to people in person?
  • Is Blackberry, iPhones, or smart phones more effective communication tool, or have we become more distracted with these mobile technologies?
  • Are the YouTube, screen casts, podcasts, or online training more practical learning options than classroom setting?
  • Are we becoming too impersonal in the workplace environment and in our households?
  • Are we becoming a better society with all the social networking options such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and wikis?
  • Are we becoming more connected (or instead disconnected) with such technological advancements?
  • Will team-building activities in organizations become more challenging in the future?
  • Will all these collaborative options allow us to reach new heights in knowledge management (KM)?

I know these are not mere black-and-white and either-or options but it is interesting to note what impact these changes have made to our society. Unfortunately, most organizations focus on the financial benefits/costs and have these questions as an afterthought when implementing such projects.

It was interesting to note that Douglas Rushkoff, an advocate of cyberpunk culture raises the question in the documentary whether we can turn off or put a “pause” button with this rapid pace lifestyle that we have placed ourselves. Indeed, the times have changed for our generation who are now accustomed to multi-tasking seeing it firsthand where students surf online, check emails while listening to the instructor as I attended Project Management course in BCIT.

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