I’ve seen this scene a lot at the airport lately – a person on a cell phone, Blackberry, or laptop, sometimes plugged into the wall… talking or typing away. And itâ€™s made me realize thereâ€™s a shift going on here – but not the one you’re thinking of.
Tell me – what do you think this person is doing? Is he:
- chained to a device?
- using a gadget?
- doing email?
Or is this person:
- connecting with others?
- keeping up with friends?
- checking in with his kids?
(ok, ok, I know… we obviously donâ€™t really know what heâ€™s doing. But let me make my point anyway 🙂
See the shift? People used to think of computers and â€œgadgetsâ€ as primarily devices that you used – like using a typewriter. The activity was operating the machine.
But now, for some of us … when I turn on my computer, itâ€™s more of a connector, like a telephone. With my laptop, Iâ€™m not â€œusing the computer.â€ Iâ€™m writing. Iâ€™m editing video. Iâ€™m playing with photos. Iâ€™m writing music. Iâ€™m doing non-techie activities.
I donâ€™t â€œuse the phoneâ€ – Iâ€™m talking to someone. When Iâ€™m txting on my phone at the mall, Iâ€™m not â€œchained to my deviceâ€ – Iâ€™m connecting with someone.
When Iâ€™m answering email, doing email” is not the activity – Iâ€™m answering questions, offering my input, or throwing out ideas to others. I am connecting with others.
See the shift? Iâ€™m not operating a machine anymore. Iâ€™m connecting with people. HUGE SHIFT!
Librarians – in order to connect with your younger and wired users, you need to adapt this same mind-set.