By Sarah Foss
Last week I had the pleasure of attending AWM's Symposium on Digital Literacy for Women & Girls. Held at Tribune Tower in Chicago, the event shed light on the ever-pressing opportunities and concerns of the new digital world, focusing on emerging (yet expansive) social and mobile media platforms.
While there were a number of speakers who addressed the issue of gender head-on, it was the underlying perspectives on technology that accentuated critical changes in our society and world. As Ms. Rosalind Hudnell, chief diversity officer and global director of education & external relations, of Intel, stated, "There are the technology haves, have-nots, and have-a lots."
So true! Don't we all define ourselves now by the number of devices we have? Or, how many apps we use? Or, our ability to tell the world exactly what we're thinking, what we're doing, or where we are? We take for granted that our fundamental "good sense" will take over for our lack of digital literacy...and our own IT plans.
By IT plans, I mean just that. For years, companies have been determining how to maximize their businesses through the effective use of technology. There are large projects with business requirements, defined goals and objectives, and management reviews to provide go/no-go decisions on large (and small, in many cases) investments. It's the system of check and balances to ensure that investments in technology are made wisely.
And, yet, we don't do this personally, do we? Dr. Steve Jones from the University of Illinois, made it very clear by stating the obvious when he said, "There is something about screens that is incredibly addictive!" We give our money, time, and, in some cases, our own personal integrity, to the vast digital world. We do not utilize the rigor of our business practices to determine what is the best personal spend for technology.
Our personal spend is not just money, but the precious resource of time. Regardless of the amazing productivity enhances that have been created from technology, there are still only 24 hours in a day. Those precious hours should be scrutinized as rigorously as we do in our companies. The blurred lines between work, home, play, family, company, person, etc., are exacerbated by technology. With a bit of diligence—and personal commitment to digital literacy—we could all maximize something even more important than our investments. Our happiness.
Sarah Foss is a media consultant, and serves as Treasurer-Elect on the AWM National Board of Directors.