Over the years, I’ve been blessed with a great lifestyle from and around the technology field. From ComputerLand in the 1980s to Silicon Graphics in the 1990s and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications since 2000, I’ve seen the amazing evolution of a multitude of information technology advances. They were all introduced with the intentions of helping us share not just data, but insights, and as a way to collaborate around global best practices and optimize the manner in which we get things done. Although I’m passionate about technology (as evidenced by the purchase of my sixth Blackberry device in the past 12 years), I fear that technology is in many ways contributing to our societal disconnect. Walk into any Starbucks location and it’s filled with people, all heads down working on their laptops or mobile devices, in an environment ideally suited for engaging others. If we can have very productive virtual meetings on Second Life, why can’t we take the time to engage one another in person?

If text messaging is defining your relationships with others, how will you ever really get to know and engage them beyond the cryptic, twenty-first-century version of hieroglyphics?

Technology is an enabler to relationship development – it is never its replacement. Nothing will ever replace a personal touch, a warm smile, or a comforting soul. E-learning has never really taken off to expected levels because nothing will ever substitute for the knowledge, expertise, and most importantly, the ability to touch, influence, motivate, inspire, and engage the audience than that person at the front of the room. As an admitted Blackberry addict (many call it a Crackberry), I’m still working hard not to jump every time it buzzes. I have committed to simply turning it off during family times and leaving it behind on weekends and vacations. Technology should help us to do the heavy lifting in identifying, building, and nurturing our most valuable relationships. It should never replace it.

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