About a month ago, I purchased an Amazon Kindle. As an avid reader, the possibility of a device that could hold many books, while not weighing down my backpack, seemed quite appealing. Yet, as I have been putting it to use, something felt odd. A sense of disconnect developed. I couldn’t put my finger on it….then I realized that was the problem. With a book, a page is turned, and you sense how far you have progressed and how far you have to go. With a Kindle, however, there is a “progress” bar, but it lacks that tactile feeling of accomplishment. You can see the percentage completed, but it seems distant in comparison to folding the spine and seeing you are only a few pages from completion.
I was thinking about disconnect as I returned from the HREvolution conference held in Louisville, KY this past weekend. Unlike the relationship I have started with the Kindle, this conference provided an opportunity to connect to many HR professionals who I have only talked with, or were familiar with, in 140 character bites on Twitter or on the blogs they write. Static avatars became flesh, and animated. Surprisingly, it was easy to fall into familiar patterns of conversation with individuals I had never met or talked with before. A certain knowingness existed as the result of a community that developed online.
From this connection came a passionate fever of a discussion about work and our lives. Meta conversations on Blackberrys and iPhones and on-screen went on simultaneously with the live discussion taking place in the room, all surrounding the idea that HR has, does, and should matter.
Several hours later, I am still trying to determine what, if any, conclusions are to be drawn from the conversation. However, I am thrilled with the connections that were made, and that people care about the HR profession and continue to find meaning in what they do.