November 4, 2008

Using Technology Just to Use it..

As I am sure everyone else has, I have seen a great deal of posts about new technologies and social media recently. The posts all are essentially the same - social media is going to change the way we do business in associations. In some cases, it already is. The prevalence of Facebook and MySpace certainly are examples of this.

I agree that there are some very beneficial and worthwhile social media tools and other technologies available, but in some cases, are we just using technology for the sake of saying we're using it? 

My impetus for this post came this evening as I was watching CNN's coverage of the election. They were showing the "Magic Map" and for some reason decided to develop and show a 3-D visual of the Capitol right next to Campbell Brown. I said to myself - "what purpose did that serve?" It was technology for the sake of saying they were using technology. It didn't seem to have much benefit for the viewers.

I have just seen them have a "hologram" of Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas beamed into the studio from Grant Park in Chicago to do an interview with Anderson Cooper. While it was something I had never seen, I asked "why?" What benefit did the hologram serve? It was just like any other remote interview that is done...

I guess I just think that as we're going to get on board with the technological advances that are coming down the pike in our associations, we also need to be sure that the technologies we're using are actually providing value and a tangible benefit to our constituents. We need to have a strategy. I think at times we get so enamored to say "we're using the latest technology" that we forget to think about its benefit.

I'm now of my soap box, but this is something I really think that needs to be examined as we move forward. Am I wrong?


David M. Patt, CAE said...

Wise observations, Bruce. I thought the hologram was goofy but I really liked the magic map. It made it much easier to convey visual messages.

Anonymous said...

I agree but not in all areas.

I like at the 'hologram' not as technology but a new form of communication. Does it seem out of place today? Maybe. Will it seem out of place in 5 years? No way.

Think of when another communication mechanism started, e-mail. People would say, "Why don't they just pick up the phone?" It did make sense then? Not really. Does it today?

The application of a new form of communication is not always immediately apparent.

-Pete said...

I was blown away by the hologram. Not because it was cool, but because it was so lame.

These 24-hour news networks have so much air to fill and most days there just isn't enough news to fill it. The result is, we're given fluff pieces with no real news value.

Election night and the hologram was a perfect example of this. On a night when there is actual news, CNN was still struggling to fill air time. So, they pulled the hologram stunt.

First, you must ask what the purpose was to interview Will.I.Am in the first place ... it had no real news value. So, to dress that up, the turned him into a hologram.

The first few minutes of the interview were spent talking about the fact that he was a hologram in the studio ... what news value did this have?

The fact is, not only do they have to fill air time; they also have to compete with all the other news networks for ratings. The result is silly stunts that only add to the ridiculousness of 24-hour news networks.