I've been talking to friends about how much the internet and technology have changed the world. Mostly for the better, but not always. Take employment, for example. I work virtually from home. I rarely meet any of my coaching clients...they can live anywhere in the world since we have our appointments on the phone, and communicate the rest of the time via email. And the company I am Vice President of http://www.coachville.com is a totally virtual organization. We have team meetings on a telebridge, communicate via phone, email and IM, and conduct classes via telephone.
I have clients that are now shifting to at least part-time telecommunicating, and who stay in touch with the office via laptop and Blackberry.
But there's a shadow side to all this as well. Most of the people I know who operate virtually, work far too many hours...after all, they can just "accomplish one more thing." And expectations of how fast you get back to someone have increased. Pop someone an email and expect a reply within twentyfour hours....or less.
And what about the "mom and pop" stores? The internet has had a profound effect on them too. I know several locally that have gone out of business, unable to compete not with the megastores, but with the internet. Some have embraced it in order to survive, creating websites and selling via ebay. But not all have the skills or desire to do that. They liked the one on one interaction with customers, and you don't get that in the same way via email!
Now lest you think I am craving "the good old days", let me assure you that I do not. I am a self confessed closet technogeek. I adore gadgets. New technology. Innovaton.
Mostly I am just fascinated at how much the world has changed in the fifty plus years I've been here. Computers, cell phones, digital cameras, IM, email, internet, wireless web, text messaging.
I "talk" more to my kids now that they are out of the house than I when they were in high school, living at home. The cell me when they are running errands, and IM me from work and home. And I even get the occasional webcam introduction to friends. My 79 year old mom uses a fax machine to keep track of things. My 84 year old mother in law uses a cell phone. My 89 year old fatther in law is taking a computer class.
I can't wait to see what's next!