Getting and staying connected

I’m trying to keep pace with the technology advances I read and hear about every single day. As I was growing in my career, I was mentored that I had to keep moving, exploring, succeeding or I’d get left behind. That same advice goes with keeping up with the advances I hear, see, and read about everyday. But the innovations I’m most interested in are those that keep people connected.

The cell phone. Because it reaches so many people, because it is always with you, because it is cheap and shareable and easily repaired, the cellphone has opened a new frontier in global innovation. (

The cellphone has also moved to the center of community life in many places. In Africa, urban churches record sermons with cellphones, then transmit them to villages to be replayed. In Iran and Moldova, cellphones helped to organize popular uprisings against authoritarian governments. In India, the cellphone is now used to allow citizen election monitoring and to equip voters, via text message, with information on candidates’ incomes and criminal backgrounds.

The internet. A must see chart on generational uses of the internet from Clearly there are generational uses for the internet: job hunting, social media use, games, texting and blogging. But the emailing and connecting with others crosses all generations.

Social media. According to

Social networks have been both embraced and vilified by sectors of the American public for their power to explicitly structure and make visible online relationships as well as create new connections.

Most interesting is how, in fact, I can get and stay connected using Facebook and Twitter, and texting even though the research shows that ‘my generation’ does not on average embrace this form of communication. When I lived overseas 20 years ago, to send a letter stateside took 2 weeks. By that time, the news was old, the connection was broken, and the communication was too sporadic.

A couple of weeks ago, I mailed an old-fashion birthday card to Canada: it took 6 days.


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