It is literally 20 years to the day since I first started at AIIM. I've been thinking about how the technology landscape has changed since I first walked on the scene at AIIM and what the implications of these changes are for how we think about what it means to be an “Information Professional." This was the heart of what I spoke about during my keynote at AIIM16, and we've now published as a new e-book. Click on the image to get it!
How We Got Here
Slate.com did a good article a while back talking about how much technology has changed since 1996. They used the term “Jurassic Web” to describe 1996, and I rather like that characterization.
So let's think a little bit about what 1996 looked like:
- Only 20 million American adults had access to the internet.
- Something called “a blog” was still three years away.
- 99% of phone users did not find text messaging to be of any use whatsoever -- assuming they even knew what it was.
- The first iPhone was still 11 years away. That’s right, 11 years in the future.
- Microsoft Office 97 was published in December on CD-ROM but also - get this - on a set of 45 (forty-five!) 3.5 inch floppy disks.
In 1996 there was no YouTube. No Huffington Post. No Google. No Twitter. No Facebook. And no Wikipedia.
In 1996, AIIM was also in what I would call the pre-web phase of its existence. One month before I joined AIIM, the association's magazine, INFORM, had this quote:
“Despite the area of Internet enthusiasm and the hyped up selling palaver of some web services providers, we remain uncertain as to the long run substitute benefits the internet will bring to businesses and to individual users.”Oops.
As Yogi would say. “It's tough to make predictions especially about the future.” I'm especially glad that this AIIM prediction was before my time.
How did AIIM Survive for all of these years?
So that's the backdrop for the past 20 years. Of course, against this, AIIM goes back even further. Many people do not realize that AIIM was founded in 1943 as the National Microfilm Association. Many people are mystified about how an organizational journey could somehow begin in 1943 with microfilm, and wind up in 2016 with content and information management.
So what is the connective tissue in this strange story?
I think it boils down to 3 words.
People. Process. Technology.