Connection Explosion

tool theme for publishingpioneer

The New Yorker cover this week shows a fellow sitting in an armchair, headphones on, fingers typing on a laptop (much as I am doing now). Behind him are shelves of books—the book spines are illustrated as frowning angry faces. They are neglected in favor of virtual delivery.

This week, my world changed. It got so much smaller that I feel my perceptions in a crisis of adjustment! The combination of several technologies not only blows by socks off, but blows all of my other unworn pairs out of the drawer! Here is the combination that has created an expanded view, albeit a feeling of new vulnerability, listed from old to new, and how I think they are adjusting:

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 1. Websites. The pressure is off to make too interactive. Other options carry 2.o further, are more cost-effective, easier to promote, and wider-reaching. Sites are best used as portals, info hubs, detailed descriptions, presentations, and commerce. They most often receive traffic from the other vehicles, acting in a supportive role.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 2.
Research. Libraries blossom online. Unfortunately, traditional libraries who don’t offer strong online services, are suffering and even endangered. The role of facilities must combine with community activity to survive. They must be places for face-to-face interaction now as a relief from the cyber world!

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian3.
Blogs. More than personal expression, these are mandatory to be taken seriously. Every organization is under pressure to have a blog for a range of reasons from customer service to training to community-building. I am using blogs for publishing projects (Idea Initiator). It is a medium, not a diary (though the worst of them seem to be used this way). Blogs jump from functioning as just a forum to a medium expanding expression. The comments matter less because more interactivity and direct conversation is served better elsewhere.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 4. Video. The medium isn’t new but it’s pervasiveness is. Nonprofits especially feel obligated to have their presidents expound on benefits. They hire videographers to profile members or show case studies. YouTube takes over the world of presentation and connects seamlessly to site portals. Video also augments social media, giving a new outlet for the paparazzi.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 5.
Social media. It has taken over relationship-building. I am a fan of LinkedIn because of business groups. I can reach those I wish to reach in this forum, the only place where I feel I have control over my interactions!

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 6.
Tutorials. As a function independent of platform, I now can’t imagine learning instructions any other way! Controllable at my own pace, the downside is the inability to ask an instructor questions directly. The e-mail function eases the connection but offers a time-lag. I personally find video tutorials annoying because I have to watch the whole thing; I’d rather zero-in on getting what I need. The plus side is you get an overview and can learn what you didn’t know you could do. The bad news is time. PDFs are much better for me—and I can copy what I need for reference.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 7. Skype. A new form of face-toface, need I say more? It comes in time for my internationally expanding family: nephew in Hong Kong, step-children in Thailand! At holidays, we can sort of include the wayward family member—gathering around the screen instead of passing the phone around.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 8. Google World. This makes the globe extremely small! I can visit everywhere I’ve ever lived or traveled to and I can see directly what has changed! I can get a visual on every place I ever read about! I can visit locations before I go there, learning my way around in advance. I even found my house and when I go outside now, I look up, feeling that I’m being looked at!

 tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian9. Virtual Reality. New to me, I’m joining in after its infancy. At first, I thought that experienced users were so generous with their time and assistance because the medium is still in a honeymoon phase. That may be true, but also people are acessible who have made an investment there. I am investigating the role of Second Life in the role of nonprofits. The long-time residents are exhausted with the building effort, disillusioned with its slower-than-anticipated acceptance, and have niched its functionality to fundraising and presentations. Some have meetings and the best of them have conferences. I believe that virtual reality platforms are the future of augmenting education—and they agree. Universities can increase enrollment and revenue cost-effectively. Product companies can use it for tutorials. Businesses can use it for training. Tourism can use it to present attractions. Nonprofits can use it for meetings and conferences. I went to a meeting for nonprofits that had 50 people sitting there—many from other countries. The spin-off groups, more than in LinkedIn, offer a one-on-one resource unparalleled in real life!

Now that I have gained some experience in Second Life, I have to explore its penetration, implications, and uses. For publishing, it is transformational in its flexibility and informational hub features. I will explore selling books, making presentations, having workshops, and teaching as outlets for sharing my knowledge and learning from others.

If you are in Second Life, you can find me wandering around the Nonprofit Commons—getting to know a new landscape, meeting experts all over the world, and finding kindred spirits who see its potential. This is a communication explosion because each medium is additive, not subtractive. Even radio still has its place. Each redefines the others, but each offers an unparalleled sense of growing connection and communication.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer


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