The phenomenon of the selfie (and then came the selfie-stick)

The “Selfie” – the cultural activity, icon, and dare I say relic or sorts, that has been auspiciously practiced throughout many people’s daily lives – has established a robust selfie-zealot practice globally. It has been venerated on Facebook and esteemed on twitter. The popularity of such a dutiful practice baffles me, particularly because it seems little attention has been given to it’s origin, like so many practices of this type. The selfie-disciples are blindly carrying out a practice that have little functional basis. While the purpose of a selfie spawned from a time of inconvenience and perhaps isolation, now it is being used to maintain the individuation of a solitary experience, intentionally preventing others from participating in an event – maintaining within the safe confines of the comfort zone of “me, myself, & I”.

I can only help to think that the first selfie was a product of not finding a person to take a picture to help capture the moment, and therefore one, reluctantly, had to do so him/herself. However, the impetus for the original selfie has been lost as “selfie-sticks” have now become marketable. Not only are people taking pictures of themselves, by themselves, but they have also decided that given those times when they don’t want to have such an up-close picture, they would rather opt for the “selfie stick” than open up an opportunity for human connection by asking someone to take a picture. The “Selfie-Stick” has provided the convenience of isolation craved so often by our culture.

Yet, with enhanced convenience comes difficulties, ironically. On Tuesday, Disney will be banning the Selfie Stick from all of their theme parks as it has demonstrated safety concerns. Concerns have arose out of fear of people getting hit on the head accidentally by the stick. Not only are people refusing to ask others to take a picture for themselves while on a leisurely vacation, but they are also neglecting to acknowledge that other people might exist within close proximity to their stick. There are some other serious side effects to self-stick usage as well. People are showing signs of increased lose of common sense as they are using the sticks on theme park rides near the operating systems, causing the stick to get stuck and putting everyone in danger.

Although I’m not a doctor, I believe kindly reaching out to another human being and asking for help to snap a quick picture could prevent head injuries, social isolation, major malfunction of park rides, and put everyone out of harms way. However, again, I’m no professional.

What does an IT Consultant do?

IT specialists are generally filling up their days providing services, deploying equipment, fixing hardware and software kinks, and of course coding. However, just because one is a “Specialist” does not make them a “Consultant”. While a specialist might be able to work at length on one project or assignment until feeling sufficiently complete, a consultant has to be more agile in juggling clients and challenges. Below are 5 services and characteristics that are specific to an IT Consultant.

Multitaskers:

-As mentioned above, just because one is an IT expert does not necessarily mean they are an IT consultant. Consultants are constantly multitasking – whether they like it or not. They have the ability to manage, and balance, multiple accounts all at one time, with different business models and various demands. They deal with more variables, and therefore require a more adaptable disposition than an IT pro. Consultants are flexible with both scheduling and curve balls.

Versatility:

-IT Consultants are extremely versatile with hardware and software technologies, never just wanting to pigeonhole themselves into one specialty. They also have an extensive coding language arsenal, to be able to provide expertise for any customer that comes along. Why? Because specialization is for the birds.

Salesman/ Businessman

-Customers and potential customers generally are in the dark in regards to what it means to “leverage their technology” or how that could benefit their business in the long run. They don’t usually care to dish out very much extra money on more advanced network technologies, hardware or software if their understanding of such tech is minimal. Therefore, it is an IT consultant’s responsibility to use their expertise, knowledge and wit to help novices understand how such services could payoff for them in the long-run. Providing a timeline of a payment plan while paralleling that with the services that will be offered concurrently, can be extremely helpful for an IT consultants’ showmanship.

Resiliency

-The ability to be resilient in key. Many deal with very demanding client expectations. The expectations generally don’t come from a place of “knowing” but rather a lack of knowledge with tech. In fact, many clients are demanding out of frustration because they actually are unsure of what they are even asking from the consultant. Therefore, consultants must practice resiliency as they get plenty of flack from customers who are making irrational requests for immediacy. Due to the convenience culture technology has helped perpetuate, IT consultants generally have to endure many demands on a tight schedule, all with a smile.

IT Handyman/ Technology Therapist

-Advising clients of more efficient ways to use information technology is preliminary for this type of work. However, most IT consultants know that their job title includes/ demands much more than just this alone. Their tasks involve a wide range of things – they not only need to know tech, but they also need to have a clear understanding of how the tech is being used in the company for which it is needed. Having an extensive understanding of workflows and coding language is invaluable and, at the heart of it, mandatory. IT consultants have to study the existing IT infrastructure of a company the same way an architect would study a building. Similarly, they also need to be well informed of the company culture, something akin to that of an anthropologist. Consultants are multifaceted problem-solvers, offering advice and consoling, never giving generic solutions. This is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of job.

Enforcing laws on drones

At their inception, drones were considered dangerous and violating. Albeit still controversial, today, drones are becoming much more acceptable, even commonplace. What was once front page, headline news, readers can now find a few pages in, buried between articles about the latest start-up and what the Apple disciples are crafting next. Drones are not only for official governmental use anymore, as Bay Area residents may have acknowledged with the occasional drone flying over their cars upon crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. And perhaps this time next year, those frequenters of GrubHub might discover their “sushi a la cart” being delivered by a drone clad in bedazzled adornment, swiftly landing on their doorstep.

As drone technology becomes more of a hot commodity this summer, their will need to be more discussion amongst regulators regarding privacy, safety and fun. Law enforcement is attempting to rush to catch up to create guidelines and parameters for drone use and grappling with how to truly enforce these laws on such a fledgling gadgets. With the prescience of their value, the market jumped into production mode before law makers knew what was happening. However, the problem with drones is not so much creating laws, since some form of regulation – such as the fundamental rule of not flying over 400 feet – has been instilled in most developed countries for years. Rather the issue lies in the difficulty with enforcing such laws, especially on a product where there is little production oversight.

Other laws that the FAA – the Federal Aviation Administration – has implemented pertinent to drone regulation is 1) always fly within a line of sight 2) fly at least 5 miles away from all airports and 3) never fly over people, unless they are involved in the operation. However, the government is now acknowledging that such rules are vague and difficult to implement. On the same token, governmental regulation moves slow and therefore, in the time being, safety responsibility seems to be falling in the hands of the companies themselves.

There is a lot of self-regulating in the drone industry as the government rushes to catch up. The scenario that is taking place with drone regulation at the moment seems to be akin to the privacy concerns that came as a result of the advent of the internet. Although initially there may be misuse, in time, regulation efforts with catch up, attempting to fill in all the cracks and crevasses that left room for vulnerability.

Given that we are in the age of the Internet of Things, with technology having had advanced 10-fold since the inception of the internet, it is much easier to track misconduct and identity to a drone than 30 years ago. The advanced technology we have now demands each drone user to take full responsibility of their actions and use, since it would not be an anonymous accident or a “fly-and-run” , if you will.

Drones operate mainly on the cloud and notify the operator, in real time, where and how it should be navigating. As new forms of drone technology emerges, perhaps the small demographic of those making and flying drones will be micromanaging others to take more responsibility for devices. With increased self-regulation, drone developers might just see more approval from their neighbors for their use in more colloquial settings. Postmates who?

Eternalizing Our Identity Through Facebook

After one is deceased, their Facebook accounts can become an active memorial for friends, family and loved ones to collectively reminisce. Before a person passes, there is an option in the settings to effectively “immortalize” the account by assigning someone as a legacy contact – an individual who manages the page postmortem. This agreement is a social media “Will” of sorts, where a close family member or friend can be ascribed as the executor of the virtual “estate”.

Memorializing a Facebook page fixes a person’s place in the world, a simulated gravesite that allots a continuous space for solemn commemoration. The page can quickly go from a platform for dialogue between the living person and the world, to an outlet for loved ones of the deceased to grieve together. It becomes a living, breathing, active board of remembrance. In some ways, when one passes, the character and personality of that individual remains intact with the collective reliving and continuous re-cultivation of that person through memories, pictures and quotes. This generally is an effort to depict who that person was when alive and to forever keep him/her in memory. Giving someone legal responsibility of managing one’s Facebook is a form of immortalization, at least on a virtual dimension. Perhaps, this is the preliminary step to what science and technology have been attempting to craft for decades – immortalizing the human body. The incessant desire to grip and grasp onto the human form to the bitter end – until there is no end. Over population? Pay no concern, viruses and warfare will take care of such issues. The zombie apocalypse might be well on its way.

All jokes aside, memorializing one’s page is Facebook’s effort to assist families in their grieving process. The designated legacy contact for a person’s account has only slightly stricter page oversight parameters than the original page holder. Once Facebook is notified that a person has passed, the page will be “memorialized” and the legal heir is able to internally post of the timeline anything regarding times for the memorial services or heartfelt stories. They also have the liberty to post photos and make new connections with friends of the deceased who desire to share their condolences on the page. The company has confirmed, however, that this legacy contact is unable to look into any previously private messages that were exchanged on the account to continue to respect and protect their privacy. The reason for allowing a person to absorb an individual’s account after passing is for Facebook to ensure that a person’s identity is forever protected. For those who are not interested in keeping their account active can always request for it to be permanently deleted after death.