I spend a great deal of time in meetings. On an average week I bet I spend close to 30 hours either sitting in meetings or traveling to meetings. That doesn’t leave a ton of time to actually get stuff done, but I understand the need (and value) to meet … as a matter of fact I find myself setting a lot of this up. I think the thing that is bothering me the most at the moment is the amount of traveling around campus I need to do to get to it all. Sure, we have great shuttle services and walking is always an option, but when the walk or shuttle ride is at least 20 minutes it puts a major crimp in the before and after times of the actual meeting. Additionally, there are days when I start at different buildings and won’t see my office all day — this makes me end up moving my car all day to different parking places across campus.
There are days (and today is one of them) where I really wonder about my own use of technology to support new practice. All this travel is hitting me hard in the wallet — not sure if you’ve noticed gas prices are hovering in and around the $4.00 a gallon range. Even if you don’t care about the brutal effects this has on the local and global environment, you’d be crazy not to get a little frustrated with it all. I had a conversation with my wife last night about finding ways to lessen my impact on the environment (and my wallet) and I was thinking specifically about the fact that I am part of a group that licenses and supports a very powerful collaborative tool — Adobe Connect. I almost never attend meetings in Connect — even though I have a killer setup for it with a MacBook Pro, tons of bandwidth, and a USB headset. Not sure why … I wonder how much carbon and dollars I could save by requesting three meetings a week happen locally over Adobe Connect?
Then this morning, some of the ETS staff were at the weekly brainstorming breakfast down at Irving’s Bagels … I was watching as they were updating the ETS wiki and Twitter and thought about heading down there when I saw an interesting Tweet from Brad about using SubEthaEdit to take notes in prior to shifting them to the wiki. Think of it as pre-collaborative collaboration (if that makes sense).
Brad then invited me into the document and from there we decided to jump into iChat AV to add voice and video. All in all it provided some new evidence that we have to start rethinking what we classify as attendance at meetings and push ourselves to take advantage of the tools we are all trying so hard to “sell” to the others. Any thoughts?