At the recent Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association’s conference, my presentation topic — job search strategies — was by far the most low-tech offering for more than 1,000 Web developers, Twitter gurus and e-mail marketers attending.
I suspected that would be the case, and wore my typewriter brooch as a humorous touch. One woman saw it and exclaimed, “Oh, a typewriter. I learned to type on one of those. I’m a digital immigrant!”
Digital immigrant? I hadn’t been in the conference five minutes and I had learned a new term. That was a fitting harbinger for a day of contrasts between the old and the new, high-tech and low-tech.
Here are some of the other things I observed in my day at the conference.
● It was a high-tech crowd with low-tech gear. A few people were using laptops, but the majority were jotting notes on paper, just as we’ve done for a century.
● A tweeter in every session. As a presenter, I’m accustomed to being assigned a sign language interpreter or even a Spanish speaker, but this was the first time I had been given a tweeter. Tara’s job was to monitor the conference Twitter site for questions. “Where will they be tweeting from?” I asked, thinking it might be somewhere exciting. I felt a little deflated when she answered that the tweets would likely come from the people in the room. What, they can’t just raise their hands and ask their questions? As it turns out, they did.
● New, or at least fresh to me, terms such as “citizen marketer” and “citizen journalist.” Both refer to individuals who use blogs and other interactive Internet tools to do what used to be done by the professionals.
● A surprising number of gray hairs and bald heads. For a field that didn’t exist 20 years ago, it’s impressive to see 40- and 50-year-olds populating the sessions. That’s good news for me to bring back to my job search clients who worry that age will hold them back in such newly evolved fields.
Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 626 Armstrong Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102.