In my last post I wrote about books and whether the Kindle and other e-readers would lead to their demise. Concluding, hopefully, that books will be just fine, because
they are a different experience. An e-book is not a book to my mind – no less
valid, but not a book. I thought this time, I’d talk about the content rather
than the method of reading. The TES has recently surveyed 500 teachers to find
out what their favourite hundred books are. The list makes for interesting
reading. Personally I’m a little disappointed that the Harry Potter series has
beaten Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Yes, yes, I know Harry
Potter encouraged reading in youngsters on an unprecedented scale, but the
books are just not as well written, in my humble opinion.
There are, of course, some books on the list that come as no surprise – you can’t argue
with “The Gruffalo” (you wouldn’t dare!), “Of Mice and Men” or “Pride and
Prejudice”. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see some more modern entries on
the list – “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, for instance, has
been one of my favourite reads of recent years. Going through the list, I’m
please to find out I’ve read just over half of them (51 to be precise). I’m
pleased about this, because it means I still have the pleasure of the other 49
awaiting me. I’ll let you know when I’m done. If LinkedIn still exists by then.
We might all be hooked up to the cloud by then, so I’ll just have to send out a
thought signal from the comfort of my hover car/jetpack…
Before I go off on a flight of fancy, let me ask: How many have you read (remember, it’s
not a competition!)? Which are your favourites? And, most importantly, which
books on the list are you inspired to read next?
Alys Barber – Consultant
I am one of those people who will stubbornly resist a new form of technology –
often for quite a long time. I’d still have a Nokia 3210 if it wasn’t for a
very patient salesman in the T-Mobile shop. And Twitter? Didn’t even look at it
until last year. My Dad adopted Twitter earlier than I did. What I’m telling
you is that there have been times (and I’m now ashamed to say it) when I’ve
been proud to be accused of having Luddite tendencies. Now, though, I couldn’t
love my Samsung Ace more, and I tweet daily.
And so to e-readers. You won’t be surprised to hear that when I go away on holiday, my
bag is still laden with several heavy tomes. I really can’t stand the idea of
losing the physical experience of turning the pages of a book, I love shelves
full of books (many of which are, as yet, unread) and wondering around a
bookshop on a Saturday afternoons is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the
greatest pleasures known to man (or woman). My future parents-in-law have a
Kindle, and know how to use it, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I
think, mainly, it’s fear. What if I like it? There’s also the idea that
publishers and marketers gain so much information about us from an e-reader –
not just our choices of literature, but how quickly we read something, the
point at which we slow our reading, whether we give up on a book. So does this
mean that they will start giving this information to authors? Will all of this
change what we choose to read because of recommendations based on our previous
choices? More than that, will it affect what authors choose to write? Will
fewer people write “difficult” novels (which are a pleasure because they’re
difficult sometimes, a slog to get through but often so worth it)? Take
it one step further: We might get to the stage where e-books are tailored to
each of us, based on the huge trails of information about ourselves that we
leave lying around cyberspace. So, when you ask someone if they’ve read Khaled
Hosseini’s latest bestseller, they may well say yes, but you won’t know if it’s
the same book that you read. Think on that.
But then, if all this does happen, won’t these developments make an e-book a different
product? A more malleable, interactive, personalised reading experience. Can we
have both? Please can we have both? I’m off to get a Kindle Fire…
Interesting article about how Yahoo have been recruiting since
the new CEO started. With the upturn in the market it’s essential companies act
quickly and have an efficient recruitment process otherwise they do run the
risk of losing key talent to other companies who can move faster.
Last night I attended the launch of a new paper, “An Avalanche is Coming”, on the future
of higher education. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you
that the paper was written by my Dad and his two colleagues.) As you’d
expect, the debate also focussed on employability. I’m with the majority of the
attendees I spoke to last night – I don’t think universities exist solely to
make students employable, but it is surely part of their purpose. If we’re
agreed that it is part of their purpose, are they doing enough? Lots of
employers don’t think a degree is enough preparation for the world of work,
youth unemployment remains high, despite plenty of people qualifying from
university with good degrees. So what’s missing? How can we fill the gap
between an academic degree, which in itself is a wonderful thing, and being
ready to work and add value to a business?
Of course students can do work experience or internships but, increasingly, employers
want something more; something less tangible than proof that someone worked in
an office for 2 months last Summer. Increasingly, clients ask me for people
with “entrepreneurial spirit” and other attitudinal attributes and universities
are diversifying their offering to students in order to try to meet these
needs. Personally, I think the hyperbolic language in the debate about the
future of higher education masks the issues slightly. (But I once slept through
an avalanche in the Himalayas, so what do I know?).Whether technological
advancements and changes in the requirements of the jobs market constitute an
“avalanche” of change for universities or not, they certainly represent an
opportunity for educators and the commercial world to improve the lot of both
undergraduate students and everyone else.
I’m no expert on these matters, so I won’t even pretend to have the answers! But it’s
a fascinating debate and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below
or on Twitter #avalancheiscoming
Interesting initiative from CIPR was announced last week where they are sending carefully selected members to talk to school children about careers in PR with one of the aims to improve diversity in the career due to under-representation of different ethnic groups.
The annual geek-a-thon in Barcelona has thrown up some fascinating ideas again this year – I, for one, am thoroughly jealous of all those who could attend. There seems to have been a focus less on new mobile technology itself and more on what it can be used for. All sorts of interesting ideas have been touted. One in particular stands out for me: Can Pac-Man really teach maths?
If you are trying to watch the pennies and getting fed up with it, how’s this for an excuse to go shopping, blow the budget and spoil yourself?
I was very excited to be informed that I am part the ‘1% club’ last week on LinkedIn, meaning that I am in the top 1% most viewed profiles on LinkedIn. Then you read down and find that you share that honour with 2 million other users. It certainly made me think twice about sharing the information either by LinkedIn or Twitter, which the email campaign encouraged you to do, as it didn’t seem like such an impressive feat after reading the small print. Also the fact that I work in recruitment and spend a large proportion of my day looking at potential new candidate and client profiles on LinkedIn, I am bound to have lots of people looking at my profile as I would have most likely checked them out first, so didn’t think it was something to shout about!
Interestingly it didn’t just measure profile views but also how many connections you have and endorsements as well. It seems it was quite a success for LinkedIn. The campaign ran throughout February and I certainly noticed a lot of social media posts about it. According to Topsy , a social media analytics company, there were 82,607 tweets about the campaign, so it really did get people talking about it, not sure how many of these were positive messages though..
Although I didn’t shout about the accolade via social media channels, I did take some (a lot of) enjoyment in the fact that one of my fellow employees only made it in to the 5% club. A sad day for him.