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This is the first in a series of posts about the pros and cons of today’s technologically driven age.

Technology can be a great thing in many ways. We can “google” something in the blink of an eye, and have access to information that would have taken minutes, even hours, to research in a library decades ago. I remember looking up books for college term papers, and it was not uncommon to scour through and check out multiple books just to piece together enough information for a single topic. Time consuming!

Technology also drives communication like never before. We can talk to, listen to, and even see people anytime, anywhere on our smart phones. It still blows my mind that someone could be in Boise and receive a text from a business colleague in Shanghai.

It’s ironic that in a day and age with more ‘communication’ than ever before, there is conversely less ‘interaction’ than ever.

Or what’s much more typical for me, you are multi-tasking at your desk when up pops a note from “Bob” reminding you about tomorrow’s 1 p.m. meeting about the new website. Better yet, the reminder could have come up on your smart phone while you were en route to a 30-minute meeting with a client – away from your desk, you might have easily forgotten about it!

These are among the significant advances to life in the 21st century and THEY ARE great developments in many ways!

But I think it’s also necessary to examine some of the drawbacks – first and foremost among them pertains to communication. It’s ironic that in a day and age with more “communication” than ever before, there is conversely less “interaction” than ever.

Consider: When you “press the flesh,” you get to meet a peer in your field, even get to actually “know” this person … especially over time when you see some of the same people at some of the same meetings and other events. You are able to build relationships by engaging in important face-to-face networking … as well as the professional development you’re able to gain by attending conferences and other trainings. But you can only do this in person, not online.

It’s disturbing to me that you can go to a conference in today’s day and age and find scores of people more interested in keeping their head down, scrolling through their screens, than they are in getting up, strolling around the premises, looking for potential opportunities for people to meet. What kind of interpersonal skills will tomorrow’s business leaders have? Or maybe NOT have.

I would rather stroll than scroll … but that’s me. What about you?

And what about that time-consuming research at the library? I am still trying to figure out how that was better than Google! Maybe in some cases, there really isn’t any drawback to a technological advancement. But my guess is, that is rare.

More on pros and cons of technology another time.

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