‘In the cloud’

Being technology challenged, I’ve realised that my MacBook Air woes happen to be just one thing that slows me down and keeps me out of the loop. Recently I kept hearing the expression of being in the cloud, or references made to the cloud from my IT geeks and wondered what it all really was about. So naturally I turned to my ever powerful savvy women CEOs group who amusingly assured me I had no reason to worry as I was already in the domain and using the cloud – Being the inquisitive chick that I am, naturally I delved further into nailing this whole cloud scenario thing. It became a mission – only to find out being in the cloud means being totally online in all spheres of your work and social life.
I can’t believe I went through the process of becoming familiar with terminologies like crowdsourcing and unified communications before venturing into what the cloud was all about. (I certainly would like to get my hands on the smarty pants who came up with this whole thing and teach him a thing or two about making life more complicated with phrases than it already is). If in simple terms, the cloud is merely using the web for just about anything and everything, then why not say so instead of beating about the bush coming up with new obscure terminologies.

Writing this blog post is using the cloud, saving pictures on yfrog, tweeting etc all falls under this umbrella. As far as I see, the term was coined by some bored IT or internet specialist who couldn’t think of anything innovative so reinvented a term for something that already exists. Yes, there are some morons who do everything online….their networking, their business, their database management and then they wonder where their lifeline is when the internet is down.
Yes I am one of the people who think putting ‘everything’ online is a big mistake and I was the first one to object when not long ago someone proposed a platform from which we could operate our entire business, put all our resources online, network with clients and colleagues in one space – how incestuous! This is why I am cynical about doing everything in the cloud – there has to be boundaries to protect your assets/resources/staff etc.
Then of course there is the trend of “crowdsourcing”. This involves working with a ‘crowd’ – be it online or off, but mostly using online tools like social media. An article flagged by my lipsticking mates said that there is real business being done through “crowdsourcing sites such as crowdSPRING, CrowdFlower and Trada. To crowdsource a project, you submit an open call to a community of experts and receive a variety of solutions or ideas in response.” What happens when not everyone in your crowd is an expert and the result of crowdsourcing your idea, marketing, or work can backfire. It can only be a worthwhile endeavor as long as you take time to study the results of your crowdsourcing and qualify it as a successful initiative.
The next trend related to Unified communications (UC). The term sounded fairly self-explanatory, involving merging more than one type of communications tool, such as Web conferencing and instant messaging, into a single interface or integrated system. Skype could be considered a UC system because you can switch back and forth between video and phone calls – it all depends on how you need to connect and collaborate online.
Personally, I prefer using one medium at a time and focusing on the person I am communicating with. It does not always work out knowing that I am a multitasking queen and divide my tasks in a needs must basis as a working mum, race track driver, fitness freak, writer, lover, cook and what have you that gets thrown my way. Maybe I should just stick my head in this whole cloud pallava, let cyberspace sort all my tasks in its own complicated way and give it some funky name like the sherrylicious phenomena….now there’s a thought! 

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