Tag Archives: Online World

Mijn Butler

‘Wat ben je aan het doen’ vraagt mijn butler als ik ‘s morgens wakker word. Voordat ik daarover kan nadenken komt er een melding binnen: ‘Peter de Waal is vandaag jarig’. Snel feliciteer ik hem en terwijl ik dat aan het doen ben komt er een bericht binnen dat er is naast hem nog vijf anderen jarig zijn die ik alleen beroepsmatig ken. Ik heb met deze personen in het verleden samengewerkt en weet niet eens of  ze getrouwd zijn laat staan wanneer ze jarig jarig zijn! Ik geef aan mijn butler dan ook door dat ik deze berichten over hun verjaardag niet meer wil ontvangen.

Mijn butler meldt me dat er een berichtje van de politie in mijn inbox staat dat er vlak bij twee inbraken zijn geweest, ik herken geen van de daders op de meegezonden video’s van de bewakingscamera’s. Mijn eigen bewakingssysteem meldt dat een sportauto met een voor mijn buurt onbekend kenteken voor mijn deur aan de overkant van de straat heeft gestaan vanaf circa middernacht tot half zes: het zal wel weer een date zijn van onze onlangs gescheiden buurvrouw…

Mijn alarm gaat af met de ringtone ‘Tomorrow’ om mij eraan herinnerend dat ik op moet staan en mijn butler vertelt me dat ik om 9:00 mijn eerste afspraak heb. Eerst nog even mijn nieuwsdashboard bekijken of er nog iets spannends gebeurd is! Nee helaas, de meeste rampen spelen zich ver weg af en vandaag gelukkig (nog) geen Breaking News, in Nederland nog geen nieuw kabinet maar wellicht is dat maar beter ook… Positief is dat er voor het weekend mooi weer wordt voorspeld en ik reserveer dan ook meteen een tafeltje op het terras bij restaurant ‘De Gezelligheid’, een top lokatie op fietsafstand van mijn huis!

Na het douchen aan de slag achter mijn laptop, eerst maar eens mijn berichten wegwerken en inloggen op mijn werkomgeving. Op mijn dashboard zie ik dat gisteren redelijk wat bots mijn profiel bezocht hebben en dat ik voor vandaag zo’n vijf uur werk in de pocket heb en nog leuke opdrachten ook! Tevens een nieuwe opdracht toegewezen gekregen voor een online marktonderzoek waar ik een paar dagen aan kan besteden. Van de drie inschrijvers op deze klus heeft het matching algoritme mij geselecteerd! Ik vraag mijn butler de opdrachten bevestigen en de opdracht in mijn agenda in te plannen.

Om negen uur start mijn chat met mij health bot. Ik schrik me te pletter als mijn gezondheid profiel op het aanlegscherm veel rood laat zien. Mijn health bot spreekt me vermanend toe: ‘Je hebt de afgelopen dag te weinig beweging gehad en teveel calorieën tot je genomen waardoor je risicoprofiel naar de code oranje is veranderd. Daar moet je wat aan doen! Waarom heb je niet de fiets genomen gisteren toen je naar de stad ging? We maken ons zorgen!’ ‘Heb je dat gezeur weer’, denk ik. ‘Je meeste health indicatoren zien er goed uit dus dit heeft alles met je gedrag te maken Gerard, je heb net weer bij ‘De Gezelligheid’ een tafeltje geboekt en ik zie geen afspraken bij de sportschool staan…’, zegt de health bot ‘Plan wat beweging in je agenda en zorg dat je de komende dagen gezond eet. Doe je dat niet dan zal ik dit helaas bij je verzekeraar moeten melden’. Ik bedank haar en verbreek de verbinding, altijd dat zelfde gezeur, toch maar weer wat gaan meer bewegen anders gaat het me geld kosten, ook het  algoritme van mijn opdrachten matching site houdt rekening mijn mijn gezondheidsprofiel.

Terwijl ik met mijn health bot bezig was zie ik een melding binnenkomen dat Paula, Anita & Oscar vlak bij mijn huis hadden ingelogd bij de local Seats2Meet. Ik had wel het plan daar te gaan werken maar nu Oscar daar ook zit besluit ik toch maar thuis te blijven werken, Oscar is een verschrikkelijke zeur die je continu van je werk houdt, jammer want Paula en Anita zijn wel OK. Ik nodig hen beide dan ook uit voor lunch tussen de middag. Hun antwoord is helaas negatief, ze hebben het te druk. Dan toch maar naar de sportschool besluit ik, ik laat mijn butler een afspraak plannen voor tussen de middag.

Rond de middag neem ik de auto naar mijn sportschool en wordt ik welkom geheten door mijn trainer bot als ik binnen kom. ‘Welkom Gerard, dat is lang geleden! We ontvingen vanmorgen nieuwe instructies van uw heath bot en wensen je veel succes met het nieuwe instructie progamma!’ Op het schema zie ik dat ik de komende 40 minuten flink aan de slag moet. Zoals te verwachten score ik op alle apparaten onder niveau terwijl ik me behoorlijk inspan en me kapot zweet. Halverwege ben ik het zat en breek ik het programma af en verlaat de sportschool om buiten op mijn gemak in het bos te gaan hardlopen. Voor het eerst die dag ontspan ik me en geniet ik van de natuur en het mooie weer buiten.

Na een kwartier duikt er plots een drone boven me op. ‘Meneer Geerlings, hier spreekt uw butler, ik was u kwijt en dachten dat er iets met u aan de hand was,. Volgens ons is uw hartslag te hoog, we maken ons zorgen! Uw auto staat hier inmiddels vlakbij zodat ik u veilig naar huis kan brengen!’. Ik pak een steen en gooi die naar de drone die daarop neerstort. In de verte hoor ik al snel het gebrom van andere drones die op me afkomen, dit vinden ze niet leuk…’

The Online Communication Cycle

‘Why are you writing in English’, Simone asked me. She had told me Victor had read my blogs about politics, business and IT on the internet which were sometimes in English. I told her I had two reasons for this: it gave me a broader audience and having worked for an English company where I learned to write compact English and liked doing this. ‘And why don’t you focus on one topic, you are writing about such a lot of different topics’. I answered: ‘Having studied Sociology and having worked a long time in IT I have always been interested in how the world was changed by IT, not only from a business point of view but also regarding their personal lives. And as Lecturer Information Management I also teach students about this and tell them about my personal experiences during the lessons and my view on this.’

She wanted to know more about my visit to Sedona and how I met Victor so I told her about the Resurfacing workshop and our discussion on the airport waiting for our planes because of the heavy snow delaying our flights. The reason I participated in this workshop was that I wanted to investigate if I could use this format as a lecturer. ‘I like to do things which in first instance don’t have anything to do with my work but there is always a new perspective which helps me further developing my thoughts. Just like the conversation I had with Paul last week on his startup: I was not sure yet how I could use this but I feel this could in the future. I explained her what we discussed the week before.’

Simone replied: ‘The problem with most people nowadays is that they are confused because of the fact so much is changing all the time. The media are focusing on hypes which are coming up quickly but also ending quickly and soon forgotten. And as most of these hypes have a negative background most people think were are going in the wrong direction. But if you look at it from a scientific and historical point of view we are steadily doing better al the time. The Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker Hans Gosling made a lot of statistics in which he proofed were are doing better than most people expect, he died a few days ago, a terrible loss for science.’

‘Victor’s communications paradox has to do with the fact that the way we interact and communicate with our environment is rapidly changing and that our mind is not able to cope with this, we are not in the drivers seat any more but constantly reacting to what’s happening around us. Direct one to one communication is now being replaced by new ways of communication and the big difference with the old way of communication is that in the past, when you were communicating with someone, the message was key and you were using verbal and none verbal communication to interact. Now, while the internet has become available you can easily communicate with all people allover the world using channels as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.

This way of communication is new for most people (Facebook exists only 13 years) and we don’t know yet what the real impact of communicating through these channels will be. This impact can be both positive, your tweet or post can go viral and become a hype, or negative in the sense that a wrong post can change the way others see you. That’s why mots people have their personal brand in mind when they communicate and respond when communication is not in line with this. That’s the reason most people don’t create content themselves anymore but are constantly responding and having an opinion on what others have to say by liking, sharing and replying, I call this spinning.’ She showed me a picture from Victor’s book how this has changed.’

‘As you can see in the picture online communication is more complex than direct communication and not everybody’s has the skills and is able to manage this process successfully. It starts with having a good picture of your identity and this can, especially when your young, become a big problem: when receiving negative feedback this can make them very unsure. Channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become very important and have big impact on the way we communicate and the way we receive information.’

I responded: ‘True, and that’s why, according to me, you cannot talk about social media anymore as most people do. Technology made communication channels available and these have completely changed the way we communicate with each other and this development has just started and already high impact. From a sociological point of view this new ‘Online Communication’ can never replace ‘Direct Communication’ but it has changed it. And it will never change back to the days before we got our own PC or Smartphone, it’s here to stay. And what we need to learn our students now is what the value of these ways of communication can be, what’s is their potential.’

‘Take for example the development of popular music since the fifties of the last century when we had only the radio and television and the LP was not there yet. Songs were about love and personal communication and the message in a song was always very clear and easy to understand. This has completely changed, it’s not about the text of the song and the music anymore but about the artist and his brand and management taking care the artist is in the news all the time. Ask someone what a song is all about and nobody knows.’

‘I have studied Sociology, what did you?’, asked Simone. ‘Me too’, I said ‘but that was more than 30 years ago before I started working in IT, I’m not familiar with the latest developments’. ‘But if I read your blogs I’m not listening to an IT guy talking but to a Sociologist who is talking about the changes in society due to the Internet, why don’t you write something from your old Sociology background, I think the publisher I work with would be very interested’. She is right, I thought, what I’m writing about is not a structural analysis but just a reflection on what I experience and read somewhere, a more structural approach using the sociological body of knowledge would make sense.

While drinking our wine we discussed what an interesting subject would be from a sociological point of view and agreed after some time it would be interesting to look how our view on the world around us has changed since the massive introduction of new ways of communication made possible by the internet. ‘Interesting subject’, I replied to her, ‘I will think about it and let you now how I would approach this but this will take time’. ‘Take your time, she smiled, ‘and in the meantime let me know once in a while how you are doing…’.

The Information Funnel

Two days later I received a phone call from Victor, he was in Amsterdam for a few days and wanted to meet me, did I have some time the next evening? He wanted to discuss something with me. I had already planned to go to Amsterdam to the University so we made an appointment at 18:00 in the American hotel, my favorite place to meet someone in Amsterdam. When I arrived, Victor was not alone, he was sitting at a table overlooking the Leidseplein and talking to a women of his age with long blond hair. When I approached, Victor introduced me to her as his Sedona friend and introduced her to me as Simone, the translator of his books into Dutch.

He was talking to her about his new book ‘The Communication Paradox’ which he already explained to me while waiting on the airport about impact of the changes in our communication infrastructure which took care we never had so many means of communication as before while at the same time direct one to one communication becomes harder for us, especially for young adults who are not able to communicate easily which causes a lot of stress and psychological problems for them. After this he looked at me and said to me: ‘and that’s why I asked you to join us, maybe you could help solving the problem.’.

I told him I was surprised and Victor smiled and continued ‘Working on my book I realised I was only describing a problem but not working on a solution and last week I remembered our recent conversation and that you told me you were lecturing Information Management to students, the same students who I describe in my book having all these problems. I want to know more about what your lecturing. What is the definition of Information Management according to you?’.

I responded: ‘Key for Information Management is that business nowadays have more and more IT available in which continuously data are stored about their customers, sales, inventory, distribution and financial situation but also data from the outside world available through external sources and the Internet. Information Management is the skill to translate all this data to useful information which makes it possible to manage your business, I call this the Information Funnel. There is so much data available that it’s not easy to do this, you not only need to understand IT but also the business of a company and understand what is going on inside and outside the company’.

‘Why do you call it a skill’, Victor asked. ‘Well’, I told him, ‘Twenty years ago Management Reporting was 90% plus financial and most of the time only available after month ends closing. If something went wrong in an organisation it ws only noticed when a customer had a complaint or your bank did not want to give you credit any more. Today changes go so fast that managers want information as soon as available and if possible direct online, stand and ad hoc. To be able to produce these dashboards and reports you need to know a lot about a company and be experienced’.

‘And what happens when companies not have a good Information Management Function?. Victor asked’. ‘Then you have a problem’, I responded, ‘It’s like a patient being sick and not having the right instruments available to investigate what’s wrong. Management Information gives you the insights on what’s going right and what’s going wrong so you can immediately take action when needed to change things for the better, if possible. In the past this was a role for the CFO but this has changed with the introduction of IT and is now more the domain of the CIO who does not only have to know about IT and needs to have broad business knowledge being able to combine both to usefull Management Information’.

‘Students have the same problem as companies nowadays, how can they structure all the digital data they receive so it becomes useful information for them? Digital overload is a big problem now for students, they are not able to filter the content which comes available all the time on the internet properly which can have big influence on their future performance’, Victor concluded. ‘Within companies the CIO is responsible for managing this information funnel and for students this of course should be the teacher and as you teach Information Management you are sitting on the solution of our problem’.

Since three years I was lecturing students the basics of Information Management on a private University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam mainly from a manual yet like in the old days when only books were available. And during my lessons when all my students were busy with their smartphones and laptops multitasking between me and what was going on online. The manual I used ‘Information Management’ was clearly written by someone who had worked in IT because I recognised a lot described in my book as my own experiences in the past working for IT companies. And my students were not interested in these old stories because they were born in a world with IT all around them while I had slowly grown into this from nothing.

Victor looked at me and said: ‘ And you teachers could be the key for solving this issue, there is a task for schools and universities to prepare students for the information society certainly in a time when politicians talk about ‘alternative’ facts and everybody is creating his own Facebook environment filtering out post they don’t like’.

‘But how do you want to do this’, Simone asked. Victor relied: ‘Maybe a school is not the right solution for this, we need something to replace this which is more modern and fit for our Information Society. The reason why schools were founded in the first place was that families were not able to educate their children themselves and you need teacher to learn them how to read, write and calculate. Children were living in large families and lived in small homes so going to school made sense in these days. Since then a lot have changed, most children now have a room on their own and parents both working and the relationship between parents and children has changed a lot’.

‘My students spend on average 7 hours on school and 4 hours a day online next to the time they spend online at school,’ I responded, ‘and for them these are two differente worlds. If you want to change this you need to change the whole school system and integrate these worlds into one and make more connections with the outside world. Why only go to one school and sit in a room with the other students and always the same teacher and following an education developed for the average student? Why not making this more flexible and use all available capacity with courses for students with different backgrounds and levels?’

‘Research has shown that collaborative learning works better than learning on your own, this has to do with the way your brain works. Another interesting conclusion is that you can better stay up late to finish a deadline than start early in the  morning, the time most schools want you to be the most productive. Also most teachers start with the theoretical concepts and than apply these while it’s better to first do something and than reflect on this form a theoretical background if you want to learn.’

‘Another important issue which influences learning is the changing relationship between students and their parents. It depends of course on the educational background of their parents but a lot is nowadays discussed around the kitchen table. 25 years ago students learned stuff not understood by their parents because the study content was more theoretical. Nowadays the study content is much more up to date and so students can easier discuss the content with their parents which makes it easier for them to learn’.

‘And just like companies need to manage their Information Funnel, students have to learn also how to qualify all the information they receive through their devices whole day and integrate this with what they learn on school or universities, this are not separate worlds but complementary. They have to learn the difference between facts and fake facts, an opinion and something which is scientific proven and how you can filter information which is relevant for you. They need to not only to see their smartphone as a tool to play with when they have noting to do but also as an instrument to become a useful member of society. Most schools see these diverse as a threat while it should be an opportunity.

‘In the Netherlands the school system is not able to educate around 15.000 students because their parents cannot find a proper school for them or schools don’t want them because of a lot of reasons. Around 5.000 of them have permission to get education at home from their parents  or private teachers giving lesson at home. At the same time the number of students who need extra lessons after schooltime from specialized institutes is growing and the same is happening for private schools were parents have to pay a lot of money to give more tailored education fit for the students needs.’

‘That’s why I thing we need to rethink the fundamentals of our school system’, Victor said, ‘We should develop a flexible system for all by which during once lifetime we van learn or teach others the necessary knowledge and skills to become a citizen, employee or owner of a business using all available methods and technology. If you define a school now a student now will say it’s a combination of a building and a set of teachers capable of giving lessons in a certain domain. This should be a student with certain qualifications who has to learn some things otherwise he/she can’t survive in society and invest in other qualifications he enjoys doing and which can potential become his future business. And the tools to do this can be having a course in a class with a teacher a a level and location of choice, following a virtual course, doing a study trip or internship, earning study points with a public service, travel and write an essay on your experiences, participating in an online knowledge community, doing a skills test, talking to a study coach, visiting a museum with their parents or talking to an entrepreneur or even start up your first business’

We talked about this for some time and Victor left around ten, he had to fly back next morning very early, I stayed behind with Simone. He was very glad with our discussion and it was very useful for him.

Tired of Politics on Facebook?

Ik weet niet of u dat ook heeft maar ik word de laatste tijd een beetje moe van al die ontwikkelingen wereldwijd waar de media continu over rapporteren. Het is een schier onmogelijke taak geworden alles wat er aan de hand is te volgen. En dat terwijl ik toch aardig wat kranten lees, veel CNN en ABC News kijk en op social media en nieuwssites de ontwikkelingen dagelijks op de voet volg. Het is gewoon te veel aan het worden en het slagveld is voor ons gewone stervelingen niet meer te overzien (en voor veel van onze leiders denk ik trouwens ook niet). Terwijl je nog aan het bekomen bent van het ene onheil kondigt het volgende zich al weer aan!

En dan heb je nog al die mensen die daar professioneel een mening over hebben en proberen dit alles te duiden. Zij komen meestal niet verder dan het verontwaardigd opsommen van wat feiten die iedereen al weet zonder duiding of visie op wat er komen gaat. Dus blijf je als burger met een rotgevoel zitten en weet je niet meer uit welke hoek het gevaar komt en wie nou eigenlijk de echte vijand is waardoor de verwarring alleen maar groter wordt.

En dat terwijl er om me heen eigenlijk niks veranderd en je van al deze dramatiek in je dagelijkse leefwereld helemaal niks merkt! Het doet me denken aan de stelling in de tijd dat er nog kranten werden gelezen dat als je de Telegraaf las je je een stuk onveiliger voelde dan het NRC of de Volkskrant. Het constant met de meest verschrikkelijke zaken in de krant geconfronteerd worden geeft je een gevoel van onveiligheid waardoor je continu om je heen kijkt en alert blijft. Volgens mij is er nu iets dergelijks ook aan de hand.

Het is dan ook niet voor niets dat er nu allerlei tools beschikbaar komen om je timeline te schonen van informatie over wat zich afspeelt in het politieke domein. De bovenstaande App van Google geeft je de mogelijkheid politieke posts te weren en sinds ik deze App eerder deze week heb aangezet ben ik in een andere, veel mooiere wereld terecht gekomen, heb ik weer oog voor het mooie weer buiten, de jaarlijkse vogeltelling en allerlei zaken die het leven mooier maken zonder angst voor de toekomst.

Ik heb de App één keer vijf minuten uitgezet maar hem zo snel mogelijk weer aan, een verademing!

SNS: Online Bank of Volksbank?

Deze week gebeld door een vriendelijke dame van de SNS die mij vroeg of ik haar email had ontvangen, ze wilde graag met me praten over een nieuw financieel product. Ik legde haar uit dat ik emails van banken altijd direct weg gooi vanwege het gevaar van spam en phishing en dat de meeste banken een mailbox hebben als onderdeel van het internet bankieren waarmee ze met hun klanten communiceren.

sns-bank

Tevens vertelde ik haar dat ik net bezig ben afscheid van SNS te nemen wegens de gebrekkige dienstverlening. Zo heb ik recent geprobeerd 1.700€ cash bij de SNS op te halen maar dat bleek een schier onmogelijke opgave ondanks het feit dat er voldoende saldo op de rekening stond. Eerst netjes gebeld en als antwoord gekregen dat we onze opname limiet voor één dag konden verhogen via SNS internet bankieren, dit keurig gedaan. Daarna gingen we naar het dichtstbijzijnde SNS vestiging aan de Leusderweg maar daar bleek geen geld aanwezig en eveneens geen pinautomaat (geen vergunning), de SNS medewerker vertelde dat dit geen filiaal maar en winkel is en verwees ons door naar de andere filialen in Amersfoort met wel een pinautomaat. Toen maar in de auto gestapt en de eerste poging gewaagd bij het filiaal aan de Noorderwierweg, daar kon ik max. 500 pinnen, schijnbaar was de limiet verhoging niet doorgewerkt in de systemen. Omdat ik het zat was maar naar de RABO gereden en daar het bedrag met mijn RABO pas zonder probleem in één keer kunnen pinnen, tja… We hebben ook met andere zaken dezelfde ervaring dat de klantvriendelijkheid van SNS flink te wensen over laat (aanvragen Credit Card: SNS: aanvraag indienen via Internet, Rabo: over twee dagen in de brievenbus….).

Wat is dat toch met banken dat ze hun primaire functie niet goed uitvoeren? Een bank waar je geen geld kunt krijgen, het moet niet gekker worden! En dat voor een bank die volledig in handen is van de Staat, haar netto winst de afgelopen jaren gestadig heeft zien toenemen en de ambitie heeft om mensgericht, maatschappelijk en duurzaam te zijn. Het moederbedrijf van de SNS heeft sinds kort haar naam veranderd in De Volksbank. De Volksbank wil zijn  organisatie veranderen van een productgerichte organisatie naar een organisatie die vanuit klantbehoefte is gestructureerd. Brand en werkelijkheid liggen vanuit mijn perceptie erg uit elkaar: SNS komt bij mij over als een Online Bank en zeker niet als klantvriendelijk. Een hoop te doen dus voor de organisatie adviseurs daar!

sns-de-volksbank

Wat me eveneens stoort is dat de meeste banken gewoon winst maken en tegelijkertijd hun klant, de mensen die hun geld aan een bank toevertrouwen, niet laten meedelen in hun winst maar nog steeds, zoals de dame van SNS die mij belde, probeert allerlei nieuwe producten via het internet in de markt te zetten waarvan het maar de vraag is wat het de klant uiteindelijk oplevert. Zou het niet een veel beter idee zijn zich te beperken tot de kerntaken en die goed uit te voeren en de behaalde winst te investeren in een hogere rente voor de klant en meer klantvriendelijkheid? Dan komen de klanten vanzelf!

“Liever een hogere rente dan meer ICT” zou een mooie slogan zijn voor een bank om mij als klant te lokken, primair gaat het mij als klant er toch om een mooie rente te krijgen en niet te worden bestookt met allerlei mooie aanbiedingen die geld kosten.

The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

― Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass

In 1954 Aldous Huxley published an essay called ‘The Doors of Perception’ followed two years later by ‘Heaven and Hell” in which he described his visionary experiences as user of mescaline, an ancient Mexican drug. He expected it to produce a different mode of consciousness but found out it resulted in an extraordinary heightened visual awareness which gave him ‘a sacramental vision on reality’. By experimenting with this drug Huxley explores ‘an unexplored New World of the mind, the antipodes of his normal conscious living, whose properties have a heightened significant pure intrinsic value. This world can have the characteristics of the Paradise or Fairyland of religion, but also negative emotions like fear, anger, hatred or malice which will turn this heaven into hell’.aldous-huxleyWhile Aldous Huxley is using drugs he experiences a new world and finds it difficult to describe what he experiences because ‘sensations, feelings, insights, fancies are all private and, except through symbols and second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human being is a society of island universes.’ This explains why we, living in the normal conscious world, can not understand what someone using drugs is experiencing, our communication tools are to limited to be able to describe and understand what a drugs user is experiencing. But somehow we are able to survive and communicate with each other using language, symbols and media which gives us a common ground for understanding the world around this.

With the introduction of social media the way we communicate with each other has changed significantly. We have created a new world next to our ‘Physical world’ and ‘Fantasy World’ which I call the ‘Online World’ which is always available for you when you want. Not having an internet connection is a real problem for a lot of people nowadays, deprived from a smartphone a lot of people become nervous and anxious having the same symptoms as drug addicts as described by Huxley. With the introduction of virtual reality and augmented reality, new tools will become available soon even impacting the way we communicate with our environment even more and enabling everybody to create his/her own world and communicate only with those he/she allows in his/her private space excluding people they don’t like.

facebook-friends

IT companies developing social media tools should have more focus on the social impact of new technology they introduce, they are not only developing and introducing new technology but also influencing the way we communicate and society functions as a whole. The awareness of the negative impact on society off social media is now very low because this is a new development and everybody likes using this and being smart. But once in a while I also meet people who have turned off their device and start having a normal conversation with me, closing some doors of perception can also broaden your perspective on the world…

The Online World

Through the Looking Glass

144 years ago Lewis Carroll has written ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’  (1871), a novel written after he had written ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. In this book Alice enters a fantastical world by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. Source of this new world is Lewis Carrol’s imagination and fantasy which he created next to reality.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass

When I see someone who is focused om his Smart Phone or Tablet and not paying attention to the poeple around I always imagen he or she is also looking through a looking glass, just like Alice. The last decade we have created a new world next to the real ‘Physical world’ and ‘Fantasy World’ which can is called the ‘Online world’ and which is always available when you have access to a device with Internet connection. And, when going ‘Online’, you can influence your ‘User Experience’ and create your own environment and manage your content. You can, for example, only invite the friends you like on your Facebook or WhatsApp account or filter the information you like on your screen creating your own virtual world! This world also enables you to watch movies, play games and listen to music on your own and forget the world around you, its your unique and individual experience. That’s why a lot of people like this new ‘ ‘Online World’: you can escape from the ‘Real World’!children-mediaWhen 144 years ago in Lewis Carroll’s time, someone from outer space would have visited earth  he would see that people only could communicate directly with a small number of people around them. If he would come back today in our world he would see everyone on earth communicating through internet devices enabling them to broaden the scope of people they can communicate to all people with internet devices worldwide. In Lewis Carrol’s time information was mainly stored on paper and available in libraries, archives and bookshops and not available for all, nowadays it’s no problem to get information from far away locations when one has access with their devices through information technology using ‘The Internet’….

Online-Marketing-Expanding-Value-In-Advertising-World

Students now studying on schools and universities are the first generation students who have grown up with constant access to the Internet. It’s not possible to explaining ICT to them without taking into account their ‘Online world’ perspective. And the funny thing is that most teachers are grown up without ICT and learned to use it at a later age, I myself learned working with computers when I was 30 and got online when I was 40. So, the ‘old school’ generation is now teaching the ‘Online’ generation what ICT is!

If you search for definitions on the Internet most definitions of ICT are made by people with an ICT background. For exemple the manual ‘An introduction To Information Systems’ from David Whiteley from the Liverpool Business School uses the following definitions:

  • ICT: The combination of computing and communications (network) technologies.
  • Information System (IS): A business application of a computer.
  • Information Technology (IT): Computing equipment (hardware).

All three definitions have one thing in common: key is the computer and communications between computers. When I use these definitions explaining ICT in the classroom the students look at me, than their phone, tablet or laptop and don’t have a clue what I’m saying. Why explaning ICT in technical terms while for them it’s all about their online user experience?imageFor this reason I looked at the way children explain the internet and found these quotes:

  1. The internet is like a telephone for all the computers in the world, so that they can all talk to each other.
  2. The Internet is where all the computers connect to each other so you can check email, send files, and play games that are hosted on other computers.
  3. The internet is a place to play games, do your homework, talk to friends and watch movies, all without leaving your chair.
  4. Not long ago, all this was on paper. To send somebody a note you wrote it on paper and paid a guy to carry it the whole way. Then we build paperless machines called computers.   We only called them that because they were first used to do math. Then we connected them all together, and called that the Internet. No more paper.

Students nowadays don’t know how the none-connected world without Internet looked like 20 years ago. You can compare it with freedom, it doesn’t mean anything to those who have it, once taken away you know what it is. Of course they have experienced what it is to have no Internet connectivity, for most students this is a threath, not an opportunity.imageWe need to find a new way of defining ICT more in line with the way this new ‘Online’ generation experience. For this reason I would suggest not to use the term ICT anymore as a starting point but rather talk about the ‘Online World’ made possible by the Internet, when you start talking about the ‘Online World’ students know exactly what you mean and you get their attention. The ‘Online World’ is bigger than devices and cables and bigger than data and information: it creates a new ‘Online World’ for all and this influences the way we communicate and experience the ‘Real world’ around us. It also gives the opportunity to talk about the social, cultural and economic impact of the internet which will become more and more important in the future.

The Online Communication Cycle