One of the headings on the front cover of the latest issue of ARC, the magazine of the Archives and Records Association, asks ‘Are you ready for Skype…?’. I found that frustrating, as did some of my colleagues.
Asking that in 2014 makes recordkeeping (and recordkeepers) look out of touch and disengaged. The lazy metaphors - dust, parchment, basements, cardigans etc - are hard enough to shake without the magazines of our professional bodies reinforcing them, however inadvertently. ARC should be a tool for advocacy as well as a way of keeping up with news and other developments across the profession.
Social media isn't the coming thing. We've had fifteen years of blogging. Twitter has been around since 2006. Facebook moved off university and high school campuses and opened up to everyone in that year too. Kate Theimer and Steve Bailey began writing about Archives 2.0 and Records Management 2.0 in 2007.
Skype launched in 2003.
Surely we've moved beyond asking people whether 'they're ready'? Platforms change. The desire of people to create and communicate doesn't. If you have the means to get online, the use of this technology isn't exceptional. It's ordinary. It's routine. It's normal.
I'm not downplaying the challenge of social media. The difficulty of securing organisational and personal memories in such volatile environments is clear. But so is the relevance of recordkeeping principles to that process. Isn’t that the message we want to communicate?