A thorny problem: Our relationship with technology

As 2007 winds down and we consider the challenges of 2008, it is worth thinking about one of the thorniest problems we face: Our continuing relationship with technology.

By and large, communication professionals have welcomed every new technological improvement with uncritical enthusiasm. Our relationship with technology often boils down to three simple words—“bring it on.” If it’s new and it allows us to deliver more information to more people more quickly, we love it.

But the truth is that relationship is more complex than ever before, and it’s challenging us in unprecedented ways. What should be our new responsibilities in the face of that challenge? What opportunities does technology present for us to change our roles within the organization and help it perform more effectively? How does technology affect a proper conception of that role and its urgencies? What information is essential and valuable? What is a waste of time and limited audience attention and energy?

These are all pertinent and tough questions in a rapidly changing corporate environment. And it will take years of experimentation to provide solid answers. Whether or not our organizations operating in a complicated, competitive global environment have the luxury of time and patience for that trial-and-error scenario is an open question.

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