Actually I should have reversed the two parts of the title, because yes – what I am about to write means “go paperless”, but provided you “keep calm”. The idea came to me by an interesting seminar in which I took part in Convene, the Baltic Mice exhibition from which I am writing, cared by John Martinez of Shocklogic. The goal of the seminar was to demystify technology, reducing it to what it actually is without yielding to the temptation of making it an absolute.

I have been a strong supporter of this thesis for a long time. We have a tendency to sort of venerate technology as if it were the whole of the thing and not just a media – albeit important, who would deny – to be used to optimize image and content efforts.

Many years ago I followed on TV an interview with a famous singer, who, to the question “what is the strongest point of your tour” replied: “lots of technology on stage”.

I would now like to point him out that just nobody remembers his tour anymore, while of the Beatles’ gigs, technologically less than zero, everyone knows everything, even the many who were not even born at the time of the Fab Four – last year was also released a big movie by Ron Howard regarding them.

But the momentum to write these lines came from a sentence I heard no later than nine days ago. I was at a site inspection in an important venue in northern Italy, when the general manager so spoke out: “we don’t issue invitations to journalists any longer, we prefer to focus on influencers”.

Obviously that manager wasn’t meaning true influencers, certified by the social media. He wasn’t meaning either Donald Trump, or the sheikh of Dubai or the CEO of Nasdaq, since these people wouldn’t be available as his promoters. He was meaning those who pretend to be influencers, that is, on average, young people with nothing to do than building a network of 50 thousand followers on Instagram.

I find it very dangerous that high-level executives are getting stroke by such an idea – as if these braggarts could, for the awareness of a conference centre or of a destination, make more than the Times or the Washington Post.

Let’s strive to think that technology is a means, not a purpose – only a means. At Gutenberg’s times the state-of-the-art technology was books. And they continued to be as such till late nineteenth century, when electric light and wristwatches supervened. Yet none of the US founding fathers, meeting up in Philadelphia in 1776, ever thought to say that the plus point of that convention was the quality of the parchment on which the Constitution was written.

This is simply because the true plus point was what the parchment contained, that is the Constitution itself, with its modernity which even today is unique.

Instead, in our MICE industry, there are clients and agencies daring to argue that their event is memorable for reaching some level of popularity on Facebook or Twitter.

The charm of these tools – and of the mobile phones supporting them – is so strong as to make many people lose sight of “the” problem: namely, that posts or tweets, confounded in the mess of the social media, have a very high volatility rate, and after one day nobody reminds about them anymore.




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