A Touch Of Humanity Is Necessary

Eight out of ten small businesses fail within the first eighteen months in America. Who can deny that the odds of building and running a successful small business are totally against us, entrepreneurs. How can anybody create real change with these kinds of odds? It is very tough, I must add. Well lads, let me offer you a potential answer for this former dilemma. It won’t be exactly what you are expecting to hear but I hope you are taking notes. Are you ready? Here we go: In order for contemporary entrepreneurs to make things happen, they have to use technology combined with humanity.

Yes, you heard that right. You need to reinvent your craft by using both technology and human skills in order to survive these days, long term. Depending on peoples’ circumstances, people may be better off running a store on a truck, promoting their business through social bookmarking or hiring talented freelancers working on commission, I don’t know. Only by trial and error, we shall find out the answer but one thing is certain, our solution must involve technomoderation!

What I do know is that you will need to be different. Technology will be a part of peoples’ operations whether people like it or not; as well as, their ability to act like a fine human being exercising good judgement with others, building influential connections through meaningful conversations, and many times by getting involved in local affairs with passion and enthusiasm as a means to build goodwill with your fellow citizens.   

You need to be a river of innovation flowing towards an ocean of opportunities in real life! You can’t afford to be a dinosaur of ideas in a world driven by artificial intelligence. Stop! Don’t even start it. I am not saying that people need to be using their smartphones all the time or that life should be about being on the tablet all of the time. What I am saying is that the future of business is to be created by us all combining elements of technology and humanity with a touch of moderation.

Wow, I am poetic today! Do you like it? It reminds me of when I was a teenager, when I used to write poems for a fee for friends. Hey, entrepreneurship is nothing new to me! Anyways… let’s get back to the article.    

Listen to this middle age, foreign born, Brazilian-American citizen who loves to shop local here in Cleveland, Tennessee. This idea that technology in itself will solve all of our problems is overrated. What we all need to do today is to use social media wisely along with strong elements of public relations. As I said before, people will need technology in order to design and develop products and services. In fact, responsible social media work will be a necessity to advance people’s most intricate dreams along with tangible artifacts. There is just no way that entrepreneurs today can scale anything these days without a strong integrated media based method for positioning their brand driven by a strong message delivered by a human being.

Real differentiation in the market and client gain is now dependent on technology with a touch of human ingenuity. Remember: Maximization of human resources should definitely be a part of your business strategy innovators of Southeastern Tennessee. Don’t give up on the human element if you want to build a successful business in 2018 and beyond.

Let me leave you today with this: What used to work in 1975 doesn’t work today, for the most part. Department stores are closing their doors everywhere. Car dealerships now give 10K in rebates! Where are the librarians? People need to understand their local market and what they need locally, not globally. Use technology to help you build your brand but don’t ignore the fact that people, not technology, tell a resonating story to you audience. Your remarkable ability to communicate will be the differentiator. What I am saying is: Your humanity, as well as technology are the ingredients for success in 2018. There is no alternative.

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We’re seeing generational shifts in technology use

A weird phenomenon is happening right at this moment in Cleveland, and beyond.

I’m seeing some of you on your smartphones more often than the students in my classes, especially the freshmen. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, you heard right.

I’m not saying, however, that students aren’t going to their iPads or laptops to surf the net … because they are, but some of you are really using your devices to unreasonable levels and are starting to be where they were about two years back: Approaching the Robotic Stage of the Human Robot Cycle Model.

How do I know this? I’m watching you! Well, let me explain.

First of all, most of you now have a smartphone, maybe two. What was old technology is now being adopted even by people like you, my dad and my mom. By the way, my parents are baby boomers and use their smartphones more often than a college student.

My mom, for example, posts five times a day on Facebook and comments on people’s posts multiple times a day, six days a week. Thank goodness she takes the sabbath off!

My dad has six smartphones, three tablets, four laptops, and wants to buy more electronics because, you know, it is the right thing to do these days. He is semi-retired as a corporate executive. I wonder what will happen when he “retires.” Well, I doubt he ever will.

“How can that happen?” you may be asking. “Why are older people getting so addicted to the same tools their grandkids are using these days?”

Hmmm.

See? When we produced propaganda campaigns to assist teenagers and young adults with using technology in moderation, we left you out! Why? Well, because you are baby boomers and baby boomers just don’t use technology. At least, that was the assumption.

Yeah, right. Of course you do, but you were much more reasonable than the kids back in 2015. Things are changing, though. Most of you aren’t addicted to technology, but I’ve seen a big increase in technology use among the baby boomers and beyond.

Is it a bad thing? I think it is a bit bad, yes. In the Human Robot Cycle, we know that the more a subject interacts with a computerized device, the more robotic they become without even realizing it. You were not made to be a robot in behavior! Therefore, using all these technologies excessively can be quite bad for you.

You know me. I’m not against technology. I like to use technology, but in moderation. That is, using technology isn’t a bad thing, as long as technology is used in moderation.

Listen to me: Technology can be addictive, and you aren’t free from its threats. Remember: We are what we do many times. If people choose to be on the computer all the time, even if that person is you, chances are very high that the user will suffer the consequences of technology overuse, no matter what.

We live in a weird world where advances in technology are making even the old young again.

Second, we do live in a technopoly. In the U.S. of A., we pride ourselves on being technologically savvy and for being innovators in everything we do. There’s some truth to that, but just don’t forget that we all pay a price for being connected all the time, even after retirement.

In a technopoly, where technology is seen as a god, people are living longer and consequently many are working until death, in part because of technology. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor if he is really retired! I bet he isn’t, completely. Technology extends our working days until we die – for the sake of technology.

You may agree or disagree with how I’m going to end this column, and that’s fine. But many baby boomers today are a byproduct of modern technologies because use among your age group has increased exponentially because the “no-tech use” propaganda wasn’t directed at you.

I’m concerned, I must add. What will happen if a critical mass of  55-plus year-olds start spending six hours a day on a smartphone, wasting time?

Look, our kids need you to help them to be better people. Please don’t lose track of what is important! Use technology but in moderation. Your grandkids will thank you.

——— (article previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)