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Laura Guzman, CEMBA '14

Laura Guzman, CEMBA '14

Nov 10

Digital distress: keeping up with the Jones' in the age of technology

Perhaps it's due to the trials of being at the peak of the 3rd semester of the EMBA program, the point where we're supposedly at the height of the bell curve of stress, but I've been thinking about distress lately. Although not just in the context than just school, but rather as it relates to the ever-growing demands associated with keeping pace with technology and digital media. 

It turns out lots of others - particularly in the the world of marketing where I spend most of my time - have too. Adobe recently released a study on this topic, aptly named "Digital Distress: What keeps marketers up at night?" Turns out this concept of "digital distress" is a very real issue amongst professionals.

Much of the worry revolves around whether they are making effective use of all the tools, and actually seeing any measurable results from all the time and investment associated with keeping up with it all.

In parallel, another recent article caught my attention: a piece on the "death of the press release." As a PR agency veteran, I perked right up at seeing this. It shouldn't be a surprise, really. Like the so called "death of print," it would only seem inevitable that the old delivery models for getting corporate news out would die with it.

In this case, the argument goes that not only is the method of delivering news out of date, but so is its usefulness as an SEO tool. SEO? Who even knew what that was 10 years ago? The fact that in such a short period time this value-add for the press release is already on death's doorstep is a testimate to how quickly the world is changing.

The problem is, it's not entirely clear what's next.

Certainly all this "technology distress" applies across many genres. Take the EMBA program: this year we were all issued iPads. The "digital distress" associated with us having to change our methodologies in terms of how we read content, take notes, access course materials, and even interact with our professors and fellow students changed overnight with that one decision.
The same goes for the professors: they now have to make sure all their content can be transmitted digitally, and that their notes are iPad-ready and shared prior to class so we can follow along. Then there are questions of which apps will help make us more productive. There are so many. 

I often wonder if the process of figuring it out has become a distraction. 

For all it's challenges, I do think technology is giving businesses and institutions more opportunities than ever. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "How to deal with data," the key is "anchoring." Figure out what really matters, don't try and deal with too much to begin with. Practice, get comfortable with what you're looking at. Try and figure out what's really important to you. Just because you have access to tons of information doesn't it mean you have to use it - or that it really even matters.

Good advice for professionals and EMBA students alike!

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