Life Is Good: 6 Things We Take for Granted

June 22, 2013

Life is good, but we take some things for granted

Photo credit: Flickr user Gamma Man via photopin cc


Recently, I had work done on my car. It was a weekday, which means that I had to find a place to check email and do some work. So I dropped the car off at the garage and found my way to the closest place that (a) serves breakfast and (b) has free WiFi.

As I flipped my laptop open and connected to the WiFi network, I remembered the days when WiFi didn’t exist. You had to get a colleague to give you rides to and from the mechanic. That made me realize how easy it is to take things for granted.

Life is good. Let’s appreciate some things we often take for granted.

1) WiFi.

One thing we take for granted: free WiFi

There was a time when the Internet and the web didn’t exist. Later, there was a time when you only had Internet access at work. Then came dial-up modems. I remember the day I got DSL installed: I didn’t think a web page could load any faster.

Today, we have WiFi in businesses, we have 4G data in the palm of our hands and if we pay for it, we even have WiFi when we fly across the country.

2) Abundant computing power.

It’s been said that today’s smartphone has more computing power than the world’s top supercomputer of 25 years ago. Computers have become so powerful that technology was invented (virtualization) to take advantage of excess computing cycles.

My first computer was an IBM PC, back in high school. Back then, the “mega” in “megabyte” had yet to exist. Also, fast runners could complete a mile before a computer booted up.

3) GPS.

The U.S. DoD

Image via: Wikipedia.

Thank you, U.S. Department of Defense! Your Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was instrumental in building the Internet.

Later, you gave us the Global Positioning System (GPS). I have a horrible sense of direction. And I’m not the stereotypical guy: I ask for directions (often at gas stations). GPS first came to life on the dashboard of our car. Now, we have fully functional GPS apps on our smartphones.

4) Facebook.

Facebook has its ups and downs in the court of public opinion. Privacy changes, the roll-out and withdrawal of Beacon, etc. I use it to stay connected with family, friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, high school classmates and college classmates. There’s no other social network (or online service) that makes this possible. Thank you, Zuck and team.

5) Individuals as publishers.

It’s never been easier to share your thoughts and expertise and find an audience willing to listen. Blogging, microblogging, video blogging – it’s free, it’s easy and it’s fun.

I used to publish a New York Yankees blog. I sent a posting to a local reporter and got selected as the “Blog of the Week” in his Sunday column. What a thrill! Through blogging, Twitter and other online platforms, I’ve learned a lot and met a great number of great people.

6) On-demand media.

Children now grow up with tablets

Photo credit: Flickr user Toca Boca via photopin cc

My kid’s generation was born into a world of on-demand media. Once they reach grade school, they’re using their parents’ iPads to consume content any time of day, from wherever they are.

I remember the day when the “prime” in “prime time TV” really meant something. On-demand media amounted to your VCR. Today, content is available in many forms, on whatever device we want it.


Life is good. Let’s not forget that.

Real-Time Search For Virtual Events

June 15, 2009

Among its many uses, Twitter has become an indispensable technology for event planners – whether the events are physical, virtual or mesh/hybrid.  Just about every event today defines a Twitter hashtag, which allows Twitter users (“tweeps”) to associate their tweets with the event.  If you want to follow comments about TWTRCON SF 09 (which is now over), just search for the hash tag “#twtrcon” in the Twitter client of your choosing.  Here’s how it looks for me in Tweetdeck:


The great thing about Tweetdeck is that the “search view” updates in near-real-time, which means that as new tweets are posted with that hashtag, I see them appear in this particular search pane.  Periodically glancing at a hashtag search in Tweetdeck allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of a live event that might be occurring hundreds of miles away.

Similarly, I’ve attended physical events where I’ve spotted Tweetdeck running on attendees’ laptops – clearly, they’re tweeting about panel discussions, keynote presentations, etc. right there from the event itself.  Those who left their laptops tucked away are likely sending status updates from a Twitter client on their smartphone.

The beauty of Twitter is not just in its capability for organizing a global discussion around particular events – it’s also great for tracking what’s being discussed around a topic.  For a b-to-b marketer, you might want to know what’s being said about your products and services.  For a salesperson, you might want to know how the competition is positioning themselves.  Twitter allows you to search for that chatter in real-time – and, third party services (e.g. tweetbeep, twilert, etc.) allow you to set up agents to send you search results via email.

Now, let’s consider a virtual event.  With all due respect to great White Papers, Case Studies and Product Collateral, I find that the most interesting content at a virtual event is the group chat that occurs in booths and lounges (e.g. the Networking Lounge).  If microblogging content occurs in the statusphere, then I think of a virtual event’s chat content as the chat-o-sphere.

In a very active/engaging virtual event (e.g. lots of activity, plus a number of interesting Webcasts/Videocasts), it can be hard to keep up with all the interesting discussion in the chat-o-sphere.  If I’ve attended a 50-minute Webcast and return to the Lounge, I’ll often find 100 chat entries added since my last visit – it can be challenging to read through what I’ve missed.

Virtual event platforms may need to consider Twitter-like capabilities to search the chat-o-sphere in real-time – and, provide Tweetdeck-like widgets to keep real-time views on specific tags or search terms.  Exhibitors at a virtual event may be interested in real-time searches on the following terms (within a Lounge chat):

  1. Mentions of my company’s name
  2. Mentions of my own name
  3. Mentions of my competitor companies’ names
  4. Mentions of my products
  5. Mentions of my compentitors companies’ products

An exhibitor tracking these search terms can quickly send a product marketer, sales engineer, etc. into the Lounge to quickly address questions being posed – or, simply participate in the discussion.

What do you think about the chat-o-sphere in virtual events – is there value in real-time search against it?

Related Links

  1. NY Times: Hey, Just a Minute (or Why Google Isn’t Twitter)
  2. Blog posting: For Virtual Worlds Info, Here’s Whom I Follow on Twitter (and Why)
  3. Blog posting: Leverage Twitter for Virtual Tradeshow Outreach

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