Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Tidal Flow of Technology

Just like the tide, the effects of technology also ebb and flow. What was yesterday’s hot topic can become tomorrow’s has-been. However, is this always the case?

The tidal flow of social media

When the concept of social media first burst on the L&D scene, I bet I was not alone in thinking that it might become another one-minute technology wonder. Last November, I was asked by the British Institute for Learning and Development (the BILD) to give a presentation at one of their Connect meetings on ‘Web 2.0’. I entitled my presentation ‘The New Face of Learning?’ – here’s the link to the slideshow for you so you can see what I talked about. Note, the ‘?’ mark in the title as that is particularly significant.

or click here

Recently I have been thinking some nine months on whether what I said on that occasion was still current or not. I must admit that my approach then was one of caution, not in terms of actually using Web 2.0 applications but more about the impact their use is likely to have on organisations, instructional designers and end users.

The impact issues which I raised then are still very current, if any thing they are becoming even more important. For example only the other day I read about an organisation which had banned its employees from using Twitter in the workplace – a trend which I think is likely to grow rather than to recede! Even in one’s private life the use of things like Twitter and Facebook needs to be done with due care and consideration if one’s professional life is not to be compromised. I know that every time I twitter I am extremely careful about what I say, unlike some people whom I couldn’t possibly name!

So, how do things stack up now? Has the social media tide flowed and ebbed or is it still flowing? My considered view is that it is still very much flowing and that there is a lot more flowing yet to come. I think that in the next few years the use of social media is going to result in a mixture of pleasure and pain; probably in roughly equal measure.

… and in case you are not convinced, then just remember this: “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.” Anthony Robbins.