Technology changes…I guess I should too…
Posted by ajnystuen
It is an interesting thing to read a book which upholds your job as being technologically backward. I currently work as a Health Information Specialist at a large local hospital, so I laughed a bit when I read the introduction in Spilka’a Digital Literacy for Technical Communication. I have watched as my department has struggled to move forward technologically, moving from a mostly paper-based system to a mostly electronic system. Consequently, I understand better than most what it is like to adapt to new technology on a professional and corporate level. I have gotten to see a complete overhaul of our technology over just a couple of years. So it makes it interesting to consider how drastically technology has affected and changed technical communication over the years.
Even though I do like technology and social media, I have largely seen it as a waste of time. But, when I consider the improvement that technology has made in my job, I can start to agree more with Qualman’s position in Socialnomics that technology (specifically social media) makes us more efficient. While I believe that social media can absolutely be a great waste of time, it can also benefit us. There are certainly things that social media can streamline. For example, this summer when I needed to move, I just asked for volunteers on facebook and ten people volunteered, many of whom were not people that I would have thought that I could ask for help. Had it been necessary for me to email people or ask personally, I would have probably had one or two people to help.
I have never experienced social media being quite as marvelously helpful as Qualman portrayed it, but perhaps that would come if I gave in and fully assimilated into the culture by getting a smart phone and actually tried to engage. Instead, I just add a fourth option to Qualman’s list of things to do in a checkout line…I carry a book everywhere and can usually rock out a chapter or two before I get to the cashier. It is a kindle now, so at least I can pretend that I am not that old fashioned. However, while I have never experienced the connectivity that Qualman demonstrates, apparently social media has been helping me in ways I never even knew.
I never knew that social media informed search engines so much. Nor have I considered how it has changed people’s search habits. It never occurred to me to look up a facebook page before going to a company’s website. But I think that is symptomatic of the same urge that has me reading in the checkout lane. I want the most information I can get at one time and generally the website will have what I need.
However, I think that Qualman is right that information finds us these days. I may not go searching for an article to read, but I will often read what pops up in my newsfeed as being recommended by a good friend. So, even if my habits are a little old-fashioned, it is funny to think that I, like the healthcare industry, am being propelled forward technologically, even if it is slightly against my will.
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