September 13, 2013Doug Hadden
Doug Hadden, VP Products
Ironically, I seem to be reading more and more about "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) and the "Consumerization of IT" (CoIT) on my tablet. The digerati seem to be divided over the impact of this. From "highly productive" to "a waste of time". From "hyperconnected" to "hyperdistracted". Possibly, some think, a nefarious plot to make us work 72 hours a week.
There has been a backlash extorting us to read books. ("Get a horse"). These pundits are too invested in the technology of the past (printing press, television, e-mail etc.) to understand the fundamental positive effects through "pattern recognition" innovations in high technology. This is something that the late Marshall McLuhan spoke about: "Faced with information overload, we have no alternative but pattern recognition." It's no wonder that many professionals are dismayed with the increasing rate of information overload in zetabytes. Not to mention the increase in statistics about information overload. These people do not have the tools at hand to deal with the data.
If you have to buy a book to tell you what Twitter is, you're really too far gone. You're a digital dinosaur.
I've posted most of the almost 35,000 tweets on the FreeBalance twitter account. Most of those have come from tablets or smartphones.
Gleaning Insights from the Information Fire House
How do I leverage these devices to manage information overload? Some of the tools, like Twitter, than many think are a waste of time are productivity enhancers. The tools that I use include:
- Twitter as a means to filter out irrelevant content – you follow the right people who have already filtered material (and you follow people you disagree with and competitors)
- RSS feed to strip off all the content noise on stories and blog posts to the get the essence of what is going on
- Internal social collaboration tool that is far more productive than e-mail – consider the problem of a new team member who has no access to e-mail threads of that one important document that was attached somewhere a few months ago
- Mind mapping software to enable visualizing ideas – visualizing is the critical ideation tool
- Cloud-based word processing so that I can work on something whenever I get an idea
- PDF reader and cloud-based file sharing
Marketing and CoIT
These tools also help in marketing. Many marketers see social media as another marketing channel. It isn't, it's an engagement channel. Sure, you can provide offers and sponsor tweets and get some uptake. But, people realize that you are not authentic, you're corporate.
I find that the vast majority of tweets from our competitors are about themselves. (Or, their yacht racing.) They rarely use social media to talk about technical or business issues that are of concern to customers. They operate "out of network." Our approach is a bit different:
- We often use content marketing to discuss important issues facing governments
- We use material linked from Twitter and RSS for technical and product research as a fundamental part of product management
- We engage with experts in the government and technology domains to gain insight about trends
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