My Key to Context: Relational Work, Relational Life

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ruby slippers

My SouthBy Connection

I met Robert Scoble at SxSW Interactive a couple years ago after a session about global event planning in which he made a surprise appearance.  He was disheveled and, at first, appeared slightly aloof and rude; his appearance immediately turned the presentation into a co-presentation. I didn’t think this particular session would be popular given the high-tech atmosphere but it was the most crowded session I have ever sat in on; attendees sitting on floors, on laps, flowing into the hallway. I think it was leaked he would be there. Because of this experience, Robert Scoble will forever be a part of the tapestry that is my SxSW experience.  Context.

A Relational Life

Context gives reasoning to all we do, to all in which we participate.  I love the whole idea that we are living in “the age of context” as defined by Scoble and Shel Israel in their joint venture – a book about this exact topic.  How and where we work. How and where we live. Who we work and live with and how they impact (and we impact) these relationships. The communities in which we organize or participate or live. Context can be based on location, relationships, interests, and even intellect.  All of these areas in which we think (contemplate) or reside (live, work, or consume) give context to our activities and goals.

You knew I was going to talk about Technology

Even the equipment and technology we use provide context for what we choose to view, review, or utilize.  So, in a convoluted Tin Man sort of way – there is heart in tech and machinery – IF we give it heart, if we embrace it and use it to benefit our interests. Think about the arguments you’ve had about Android versus iPhone, or Microsoft versus Apple.  What we like is what we like – these THINGS bring richness, context to our lives. If we let them, if we control them – not let them control us.

An Addict I am not

I have been accused by those closest to me of being a technology addict, of having my mobile phone surgically attached to my hand, of being a slave to Facebook or Twitter.  I am not a slave or addicted.  As a matter of fact, I function quite well because these things do not take me away or out of my life – they enrich it.  And they enrich it because I allow their context to seamlessly integrate, blending sometimes surreptitiously with the rest of my existence.  It is part of my work, it is part of my life.  And these things – these technological things – do not take precedence over or replace what others think I need – whether it is peace and quiet or the introspection reserved for those who live in the country or by the beach.

Believe it or not, I often leave my phone behind and sometimes go days without logging on to Twitter.  I have been known to abandon Facebook for a whole day – not often – but it’s happened.  I walk my dog every morning and evening without taking my phone with me.  Those very people who accuse me of being addicted have been angered and frustrated when they can’t reach me while I am on my walk.  Huh…, walk with me if you want to with talk me.

The Tin Man Has Heart

Losing reality would be a shame.  I understand that the reality is that The Age of Context is the future.  And…, guess what… the future is here – it is now.  My ruby slippers are my phone.  My lap top is my Tin Man and I have discovered that there is no place like home.


by Rayanne Thorn


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