My Decade

2010, who’d have thought it. When I was a youngster the big deal was the year 2000, it always seemed like an age away. To now be living 10 years on from then is quite a scary thing.

What has the last decade meant to me?

On some levels it’s remained a fairly stable and consistent time. I’ve been with UKOLN since May 2000 and have been working with the same people (in some capacity or another) during that time. I’ve also spent the last 10 years in the South West, admittedly we have lived in 3 different places and in 5 different houses but that’s by-the-by. I’ve also been with my very kind-hearted and tolerant (!) husband Bill through the whole of the 2000s, my longest and most serious relationship by far!

The biggest change for me has been the birth of my three children. Having children really knocks your socks off, it’s almost an understatement to say that “life will never be the same again“. The biggest change is that my life is no longer about me anymore, it’s about them. That’s not to say that I no longer have a say or a life of my own, but ultimately all I do is for them. (The death of my social life was a frightening change too!) Having the children has had a knock on effect in that I now care more about what happens to this planet we are living on. I mentioned in my blog post on Is Copenhagen our last chance? that I’m no stranger to protesting but I’ve definitely become more focussed now. Those selfish days are over – or at least my selfishness now covers 5 people!

And what about technology?

I watched the Gadget show Gadget of the Decade programme with interest but also surprise. I suddenly realised how few gadgets we actually have. Most of the gadgets listed hadn’t changed my life at all, at least not yet. If I had to pick a gadget that has changed the way I live then I’d go for the digital camera. I recently tried to find some photos of myself for an 80s night and realised how few photos I had, and how bad the ones I did have were. Now we almost have too many images of our lives.

OK so I’m not a big gadget person, that said technology is what my working world is about and a transformational change has definitely taken place.

To list a few significant changes:

  • Broadband use has soared. Back in 2007 it was reported that nine out of 10 UK net users were connecting via broadband services. Although there have been problems with coverage and speed the availability of broadband has been highly significant to home working. The 2012 Olympic Games will give BB a boost too. The UK government has said it wants super-fast broadband available to 90% of the country by the end of 2017 and everyone in the country to have access to broadband speeds of 2 Mbps by 2012.
  • It’s old news that there is more than one mobile phone per person in this country. The rise of the iPhones (the Gadget shows gadget of the decade), Blackberries, and Androids all mean easy Internet access. Hey, even I now have unlimited data – I added a package on to my contract over Christmas!
  • Digital cameras, MP3 players, online telly have all had a big impact on the way we live and work.
  • Google has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Very few of us had heard of it back in 1999 and as for social networking the only options were only geeky chat rooms.

The shift has definitely been to the Web, which is lucky for me as that’s where I am!

On the Groundswell blog I think they sum up the technology changes nicely.

What you can learn from this decade is that consumers move quickly, models move slowly, and marketing moves conservatively. When you see a technology shifting, that’s the time to begin close observation of the models behind it. It will take years for those models to take hold, and in those years, you get the chance to learn.

So what’s the 2010s got in store for us?

For those of us in the public sector it is quite obvious that the wave is about to hit. We will definitely be the next casualties of the recession. Having only just got back to normal after my husband had no job for 6 months last year it’s not something I’m looking forward to, but what ever comes I will take it on the chin. Of course there is also still that little problem with the climate to sort out too. These are turbulent times ahead. I’m still a firm believer in the old Friedrich Nietzsche saying: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger“. Bring it on.