I’m not a big fan of that bastardization of the English language known as “texting.”
Don’t get me wrong. I like a good acronym as much as the next guy—fubar and snafu are personal favorites—but sometimes, when I’m texting with someone under 30, I actually have to Google acronyms like IMHO and YOLO.
And that makes me feel old, and a little threatened. (By the way, for all you old farts out there, those stand for “in my humble opinion” and “you only live once.”)
I guess that’s one by-product of technology—it can make you feel obsolete. And that fear, that feeling of being threatened by technology, is even older than the word “technology” itself, which came into being in 1859. About 45 years before that, a group of textile artisans in England started protesting against the machinery that, in essence, replaced them.
The Luddites, as they were known, burned mills and factories and smashed newfangled equipment like automated looms. They made such a stink that, at one point, there were more British soldiers fighting the Luddites than were fighting Napoleon’s army.
It was all futile, of course. In the end, the movement was quickly drowned out in a sea of public executions.
You just can’t stop the march of technology, as the ghosts of those beheaded Luddites would attest.
Case in point: No matter how much I reject texting, it’s starting to infiltrate my vocabulary. My favorite text acronym is TMI, for “too much information,” which is useful when somebody tells you way more than you ever wanted to know. And in this information age, that seems to happen all the time.
I recently interviewed a bunch of young journalists for an open position here at multifamily executive. And in providing writing samples, many of them sent me links to their blogs, which almost always included TMI. At first, I couldn’t understand why they were so open with a potential employer—posts on their love life, health history, and family situations were common, and often unflattering.
Then it hit me—this is par for the course now; every day, more blogs, social media posts, and personal information are heaped upon the bottomless pit of the Web. In fact, last year, Earth’s population created about 1.8 zettabytes of data—you’d need more than 57 billion 32-gigabyte iPads to hold it all.
This glut of bits and bytes, driven by the largest generation in our nation’s history, presents an amazing opportunity for multifamily firms, in several ways. As you’ll see in our cover story on page 15, new media requires new tools, such as those being used to turn social media “likes” into actual leases. Managing your online reputation is another aspect of luring renters to your doors via this Wild West of the Web.
The Web has also made it possible to do quicker and more comprehensive renter background checks. And catering to the gadget needs of Gen Y is transforming the way developers approach common-area design.
The amount of personal information captured by apartment operators is the envy of every marketer, and the rise of data mining and predictive analytics will likely present the next great nut to crack in our industry.
So, we should all embrace the fact that Millennials build these online monuments to themselves. We should learn the shorthand they’ve invented. We should view the coming information age as an opportunity to do our jobs more efficiently and effectively.
If information is power, then there’s no such thing as TMI.