Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone?
Earlier this week, for the first time in eight years, my web connection went down.
Unfortunately, it happened at exactly the wrong time. I was scheduled to do some work abroad, and so I needed to make some last-minute checks of my emails and, not least, check my flight status given that Mother Nature had seen fit to dump 3 inches of snow on London in April.
So I got around the problem by trogging off to Starbucks. And, for the record, although the BA site said my flight wasn’t cancelled, two hours later, it was.
But that’s another story. When I finally made it to my destination, I was unable to connect to the web there too. Nothing to do with failings on anyone’s part, it was just that my laptop and the company’s network didn’t seem to like each other much. Fortunately I’d done enough prep to do without it and, at first, everything was fine.
But increasingly I found I needed to jump online, and it became more frustrating that I couldn’t. And I don’t mean I wanted to waste time. I neither hunger for blogs nor thirst for Twitter. I mean, the work I was doing – good old fashioned copywriting – really benefited from online access.
I kept wanting to:
- Find inspiration for words and terms. I wanted to jump onto Thesaurus.com or Dictionary.com. I suppose I could have lugged two large reference volumes in my laptop holder but I don’t make a habit of it. Virtual is definitely lighter.
- Check facts. Was it 1.5 billion widgets, or 1.15? I could have verified this instantly if I were online, but instead found I kept having to put placeholders everywhere – TBC.
- Find inspiration generally. Especially when writing, if I’m up against an obstacle I use the many and varied connections within the web to get around it. My brain is sometimes (often, actually) simply not big enough.
- Fire off quick emails (not Tweets, my Twitter-fu is still weak) to get opinions or comments or ideas from colleagues.
- Check my blog, and those of bloggers I read. Often I knew – I just knew – that I’d already written something relevant, or someone else had. If only I could get online and find out!
So, it was a strange and revealing situation. There I was, all alone on a desert island, knowing that the great and bountiful Land of Web was just beyond the horizon.
Imagine walking into an office now without the web. You’d soon go bananas. Similarly, imagine walking into a job say, ten, fifteen years ago and expecting to have all these resources in place. You’d probably be called a time-waster because you apparently spent more time online than you did off it.
But no. It was all productive, and I really missed it.
And what this also tells me is that the next generation of workers will expect to use social media to the same end. As importantly, so will their clients. They will find good, new, productive ways in which to connect and do a good job better.
There now. Much more positive than talking about ghost blogging, right?