Alert! Please Manage Me.
I’m always on the hunt for new ways to leverage technology to meet my personal goals. From setting timers on all the lights in my house to match my ideal waking/sleeping hours, to overhauling my task management system so that my iPhone now reminds me what my day’s top priorities are precisely when I walk through my office doors. I love technology and I particularly love how it can keep me focused on what I really want…. ie. go to bed on time, do what you set out to do that day, etc. Essentially, I get to be the leader and I’ve employed an arsenal of technology tools to manage me.
In my last blog (where I disclose to the world that I’m a cyborg), I somewhat mirror this sentiment. Now that I’ve had some time to adjust to this thought, I’ve begun to explore how it further relates to our role as digital storytellers for social good. Here’s some new thinking: Its time for us, as communicators, to better define a new method of technology use in our efforts to change hearts, minds and behavior.
We’ve been doing it, but now is the time to focus.
Storytelling will always be at the core of what moves our audiences to make the smart choices we all desire (i.e. eat healthy foods, continue our education beyond high school, pay off our credit cards, etc). Seeing what’s possible and then wanting to make a positive change is an incredibly important first step. And we use our spoils of technology to create and distribute these stories – fancy production gear, high-tech editing facilities, email campaign systems, social media platforms, etc.
But beyond wanting to make a change, we must give our audiences “managers” to help them execute on the desirable future that these stories have brought to life in their minds. Communicators must provide self-management tools or virtual hand-holders to aid in the often tough follow-through process necessary to meet new commitments. These are tools for audiences to take a deeper sense of ownership of their new choices and feel empowered by the technology they’ve chosen to put in place to reach their new found aspiration. It’s the ultimate opt-in.
Just like my automatic lighting setup helps remind me that I love waking up before the worms to get my exercise in, and my digital alerts keep me on task to meet my big picture goals, we all need a little help remembering what to do after we’ve decided to do something new and good in our lives. A perfect example of this use of technology in our recent work has been the college-readiness mobile app we developed to help high school seniors not miss a beat in the very tedious application process. With this tool, students get to choose how and when they employ this manager to meet their college and career goals.
So here’s the subtle shift I want to highlight: I get to take credit for getting up on time and keeping focused on my tasks just as those kids in Corpus Christi ISD are responsible for following the college-readiness’ apps process to successfully apply for college. Those kids and I chose to use technology as our manager to reach our goals.
So this is my point… We need execution tools that we can program based on the support we need to complement our new found positive life choices. Communicators must develop digital self-management tools to allow the audience to create their own story. My team at AMS has been developing these very tools for many years, but for the first time, I see how important this type of technology/communication integration will be to elevate our aspirational society into action.
Off to create a reminder alert to re-read this blog and write something else to explain it!