The Culture of Availability

I’m some 36,000 feet over…what out the window I can only guess is southern France and the Mediterranean Sea….I’ve been working on my presentations for the ECIS Admin Conference that I’m headed to in Portugal. Trying to find some inspiration and motivation for my presentations I’ve been watching some TED videos that I have on my iPhone and came across this 3 minute gem. This is the first time I’ve heard this phrase of a “Culture of Availability” and as soon as I heard it, it made the hairs on my neck stand up. I like it when I’m hit with things that until that point I really hadn’t given a lot of thought to. It’s a good little video and as I think about this new culture that we’re in I can’t help but think of how we want to be, and feel the need to be, available to people. And more importantly how we feel that others should be available to us when we need them. Of course a lot of this comes from mobile devices and the ideas that we’re “always on” with our cell phones and smart phones. A perfect example of this was just a couple of hours ago while I was in Istanbul on a 3 hour layover and full out expected there to be wireless. Do you do this when you go places? Just expecting there to be access to the Internet and then find yourself very disappointed when there isn’t? Of course that’s only the first part. Once I had the connection the second part was this culture piece. This expectation that others would be available to me to “waste time” as I sat in the airport. I caught my wife on Skype on the iPhone and I let her know via chat that I had landed and was standing in line at the Starbucks. Later on I called her and we talked for about 45 minutes. Then I went to Twitter fully expecting there to be people available to me and sure enough I had a fun little conversation around peoples individual rules for counting visited countries (for my wife and I it’s 8 hours and must leave the airport). We are living in a culture of availability. We don’t shut our cell phones off…we just put them on silent mode…and that’s OK. We as a society have adopted that...

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