The decreasing popularity of the daily newspaper is one of the more obvious results of the generation divide. Younger readers are less likely to pick up the morning paper. I’m in the senior minority, as I still walk to the end of my drive every morning to pick up my copies of the Chicago Tribuneand the Wall Street Journal.
But before traveling to Phoenix on a recent trip, I downloaded the Chicago Tribuneapp for my iPad. It took some getting used to, but I ended up reading the whole newspaper on my iPad — even the comics. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my morning newspaper, but the iPad version was quite convenient for travel.
How savvy are you with new media and technology? LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals. As you approve members of your network, it becomes a handy resource for asking questions and receiving feedback.
People either love or hate Facebook — there seems to be little in between. I’ve found it to be a good way to stay connected with people, though I quickly un-follow foolishness. Twitter has become like an electronic telegram, and texting is faster than a phone call. News-gathering sites like Flipboard or StumbleUpon track what you read and forward similar articles. Top this with your favorite websites, and you spend a lot of time connected electronically.
I thought new technology and smartphones were supposed to save time. Instead, I find it steals more of my time. Perhaps I’m just not disciplined enough to restrict my usage. Do I really need 67 apps on my iPhone? No. But apps are like books for me — when I hear of an interesting one, I must have it for when I eventually have time.
A friend posed to me an interesting exercise on news consumption. Ask yourself the following questions: What type of news do you seek when you first wake up in the morning? When you get to work? At lunch time? Before you go home? In the evening or before bedtime? Just how tapped into news are you?
The demand for news is high, and the speed necessitated by that demand leaves little time for fact-checking, as seen during the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon, when national media updates went viral with misinformation they had to subsequently retract.
When I did the exercise on how often I check my phone or how often I respond to the “ding” of incoming e-mails or texts, I’m guilty of letting technology control me.
Steve Tobak, a reporter with CBS Moneywatch, wrote about communication overload a few years ago. Now, it seems we have reached a tipping point. Tobak’s suggestions to stop communication overload included my favorites:
- Every person copied should have a purpose for being included.
- The more people on a conference call, the more opinions that must be heard.
- Stop hitting “Reply All” on e-mails unless every person on the distribution list must hear the reply.
- Never forget that, now more than ever, time is everyone’s most precious asset.
As a fire chief, the need to communicate with your officers and personnel is critical, but have you reached a point of communication overload? Social media creates its own issues, but is communication overload a broader problem throughout your fire department?
How much time do you spend communicating with a screen versus with people? How effective are you in your communications?