Beacon blog: A new turn on the technology path
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2010 - True confessions: I'm a technology evangelist.
I get really, really excited when technology is used to take an everyday need, habit, task or interest and make it somehow easier, better, indispensable, more accessible. Often, this takes things to the next level, creating space for new thoughts, new habits, new norms. Wash, rinse, repeat.
My relationship with technology has always been from the perspective of the content, of distributing information in a better way - a more efficient way. My first foray, as a sophomore in college, was because it was too cold in January to walk to the Theater and Interpretation building right off of Lake Michigan to post the ever-changing schedule for the Waa-Mu show at Northwestern. Email meant I could disseminate the information from the comfort of my desk, in my pajamas.
Not everyone in the cast had activated their email account, but as stage management, I made it clear that that was simply the way it was going to go. A number of people credit/curse me to this day for opening up -- or dragging them kicking and screaming into -- the world of electronic mail.
Since then, I've moved on from musical theater majors to symphonies, ballet companies, Broadway shows, box offices, bankers, educators, hoteliers and, now, journalists. Not to say that anyone is kicking and screaming here.
The Beacon feels like the perfect culmination of my technology evangelism experience. We have an abundance of quality content and expertise, the region has a growing need for more sources of well-reported news and information. And the media landscape is at a crossroads in finding its way through an abundance of new and exciting technology-driven delivery methods.
But technology doesn't excel without the need, the habit, the task or interest. Applying it at random or without context or substance does not offer solutions; it merely makes noise.
The Beacon has come a long way in its 2.5 years of existence. We've built readership, staff, support, partnerships and we've produced a good deal of content that we're extremely proud of. We've met you in bars, cemeteries, winter gardens and on top of Native American Mounds.
But we've barely scratched the technology surface. As we start down that road, I'll use this space to share thoughts and opinions on things we and others are doing and not doing and why it's exciting, transformative or simply the cost of doing business in today's digital world.
So buckle up. And I promise, no kicking or screaming.