I have, in my relatively brief lifetime, been privy to a number of cultural changes. Maybe everyone has been, since the dawn of time, but given the dearth of blogging (or equivalent) opportunities in the 18th century they never got to share their thoughts on the subject. I’m also sure there are multiple presentations and ‘thoughts’ out there about the pace of technological change, but here are my own brief thoughts on the subject. I’m intrigued too by the fact that I cant remember when I adopted certain ‘new habits’. But I bet I’m not alone in that. So when did I a) start using e-mail b) buy my first CD player c) get my first mobile phone d) buy my first iPhone or e) discover box-sets? In all honesty, it’s irrelevant. But it does illustrate the reality that we live in the ‘era of mindshift’….
1. When did we decide we had to be accessible 24/7?
I do recall my first mobile phone, albeit not the year I acquired it. Back then, there was a phrase – ‘not available’. This effectively meant you were not to be disturbed. You turned off your mobile phone at certain times, you took your home phone off the hook and you were, literally, un-contactable for extended periods. No longer. If you are unavailable on your mobile people immediately assume you are dead (or at least fighting for your life). The culture changed. Now my iPhone is welded to my hip. I keep it, charging, in my bedroom at night – typically in case one of my kids needs assistance. The only barrier to ‘work’ phoning me is the unwritten barrier of ‘not being on duty’. But the point is, I choose to be available while hoping not to be disturbed. I bought the package.
2. Who owns my career?
Once upon a time, there was a mindset that your company ‘gave’ you a career. I think the changes in expectations, work practices, and the forensic dissection of the social contract (work for pay) over the last 40 years have changed that dynamic completely. It’s up to each and every one to figure out what and where they want to be, and to pursue whatever legitimate steps are needed to get there. Employers will hopefully facilitate that, and the better ones will offer employees a chance to build skills to enable career growth. But the altered perspective in this area has definitely happened – its up to everyone to create and manage their local environment, the better to prosper and develop. Waiting is not seen as an option now. Mindshift happened.
3. Content over medium?
Back to my box-set point. Once upon a time (and not so long ago) we used to settle down in front of the TV to watch ‘this week’s episode’ of our favourite TV program. We endured ad breaks (put the kettle on…). We forgot plotlines from week to week. We shaped our entire life so that we could be on that sofa on Thursday night at 9pm. Were we mad? At the time, no, because everyone else was doing it too. But now? We have foregone the lure of the new episode for the dividend of time. We use technology to stream. record, box-set-link, and generally entertain ourselves with what we want on whatever platform works. And more importantly, when we want. So we’ll look at content on tablets, iPhones, and other devices, via streaming, youTube, netflix, players and many other devices. The high water mark of this is probably the box-set where, akin to eating an entire box of chocolates, I once watched six episodes of The Wire back to back. I had a slight dose of indigestion but nothing that I couldn’t handle…
So that’s it – just wanted to blab about a few of the changes we’re all living through. I like embracing the new, but remain intrigued that we cant remember when we started doing stuff this way. And I’d still love to know when I started using e-mail….