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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Evolving is hard, but it beats the Alternative

I am really making an effort to catch on to the latest technology, and to read up on things that I can do with my iPhone and iPad. In fact, this whole post has been done using Siri (and several corrections using the on-screen keyboard) and the Blogger app I just downloaded from the iTunes store.

I attended the California Park and Recreation Society's annual conference in Long Beach, and two things made an impression on me this past week. The first is the need for greater connection between people who work in public parks & recreation and the community, specifically neighborhoods. The second concern being that we still have a long ways to go as a profession to catch up to the technological advances in social media and how society, especially the younger generation, are using mobile devices and Smartphones as a way of staying connected and accessing information.

There was an article in today's Sacramento Bee about how younger generations do not value owning a car the way older generations have. Scratch, a division of MTV, found that most younger people prefer access to the Internet over owning a car. Based on this information, I'll have to make sure I add Scratch as one of my RSS feeds so I can get the latest information they find in their research, as I believe their findings will have a direct implication on how we should think about our customers wants and needs, how we design facilities, and how we should develop programs in the future.

It's easy to go out and buy new technology, to sign up to use social media sites and to download apps through iTunes. What takes effort is figuring out how to use all those different tools effectively both for business and personal life. My greatest concern is that I could constantly have my head down looking at a small screen trying to take advantage of all of these new opportunities. But like everything else that you want to become skilled at, you have to spend a little more time than you think you should trying to master the activity . . . and in my case it's not that I'm trying to master something, I'm just simply trying to catch up.

So yes, evolving is hard, but to stay relevant in my chosen profession I believe I have to make the effort to understand how both society and technology are changing if I am going to be able to continue contributing to the field of parks and recreation.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trading Business Cards . . . so 2011

It makes sense there's an app that replaces the practice of exchanging business cards. According to this LA Times article one of those app's is called Bump. I downloaded the app to my iPhone and hope to use it at a conference next week.

Back in 2008 I attended a conference that used a technology called nTag. Each attendee was issued an nTag device that acted as their confernece badge. You could use it to exchange business contact information, receive conference messages and updates, request presentations, and participate electronically in polls conducted by presenters. It was pretty cool. Four years later that technology may no longer be relevant. How long before I look at my iPhone and say 'this thing is so 2012'?