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Staying personal in a hi-tech world

Staying personal in a hi-tech world

There would be very few industries that have not changed considerably by advances in technology over the past decade.

Publishing is no exception.

Ten years ago working on a newspaper in suburban Johannesburg, covering the still volatile political transition and escalating crime rates, my only interaction with technology was the box I entered my copy into.

While this machine [don’t ask me what brand or model] was connected to a network, the idea of being able to access the internet or email was a distant hope.

So were mobile phones – reporters were issued with pagers, which were of course of little use out in the field if you were nowhere near a phone to respond to your editor’s anxious message.

And forget about calling someone on their mobile phone for an interview. Most of the select few who had these phones still regarded this as intrusive, while the publisher would balk at the cost of such a call.

With no Google, Wikipedia, blogs or regular access to the internet, research involved trawling through dusty news files and talking to countless people.

It would not be until a year later that I regularly accessed the internet at work.

But even then the web only reached as far as a select few machines in the office and not mine.

I had to do all the online research for my impending OE after-hours on the communal internet-connected machine.

This would also be the time I got my first email address, but this was a personal Hotmail account and I would use email at work for first the time only in 2001.

Today technology is pervasive in journalists’ worklife; few of us would be able to do anything without email, the internet or PCs; and don’t ask us to operate a typewriter!

We can now get the news out there as soon as it happens, and post stories and photos online mere moments after an interview or event.

And the world is now often your audience – the Reseller News website attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe.

Looking back at how far we have come in the past 10 years, it is exciting to think what lies ahead. For some indication read the glimpse into the future industry experts have given us in this tenth anniversary issue of Reseller News.

But it is also important to not lose sight of the cost of all this progress.

With the instant nature of today’s media, we often devote little time to reflecting on or analysing important events.

Also, since electronic communications have become so easy, this often comes at the expense of personal communications.

It is easier to “talk” to someone through email, instant or even text messages, than picking up the telephone to make a call.

As we move forward, let’s not forget that customers are people too, and need some personal contact once in a while.


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