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"I wasn't sure what I was looking for"

I can’t fight it. You can’t fight it. We can’t fight it. The internet, that is. 

Sure, within the walls of my home I shout edicts to my kids that I am going to toss all of their screens, that I am ready to shut down our Internet connection, that I have had it with Snapchat, Instagram, Finsta and all other instantaneous communication tools.

In my house I can control access, or at least I like to think I can, even if it is a constant battle I sometimes lose. Which makes me long for days gone bye. 

I long to hear the Prodigy dial up noise from 1990, that ear piercing screech that indicated I was  slowly connecting to a new world of information availability (check out this ad to see how the world has changed, 

The connection came via a phone line connected to a large, heavy, unwieldy computer located in the basement. Unlike today’s handheld devices, you couldn’t pick it up and carry it about the house. Ironically, 1990s immobility created web freedom.

Today, people have access to instant information everywhere. In 1990, that information was only available via a large box tied to a tabletop.  That change has created captives who need to access information and messaging around the clock, in almost all locations, constantly.

I read a comment recently that said “I used to turn to the internet for an escape from real life. Now I turn to real life as an escape from the Internet.” That quote perfectly captures the web evolution from 1990 to 2017. 

Back then, in the golden days, usenet newsgroups were the major source of discussion and tutorials in nettiqute attempted to guide appropriate web behavior. Internet Bots, or web robots, were in the future. These software applications run automated tasks over the Internet at a higher rate than that possible for a human; think search engine spider.

Which brings me to the point of this piece. Recently, Jack and I had a call with a hospital to discuss the staffing of their facilities department for the future, about the roles of facility directors, managers, energy experts, and MEP technicians. At the end of our hour long conversation, the facilities director uttered a simple declarative sentence. 

“I wasn’t sure what I was looking for until we had this conversation.”

We sometimes seek the easy way out to our staffing conundrums, turning to internet bots like Zip-recruiter or Indeed to fill our human capital needs. These tools reduce people to key words on a resume. There is no interaction, no refinement, no discussion, no discovery, no epiphany.

As a replacement for human interaction the web sorely lacks, especially as it comes to the complexity of the facilities management role. You won’t hear that in a Zip-recruiter or Indeed commercial. The people who ensure that facilities function aren’t spending their days on internet search boards and they may not know the proper key words to get their resumes recognized.  

Don’t get lost in technology. Talk to a fellow human and you too may say  “I wasn’t sure what I was looking for until we had this conversation.” 

And that’s a good thing.


Best regards,                                                                                                                                         

Peter Martin  



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