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The independent voice of the global moving industry

The virtual committee

Nov 14, 2017

While I was interviewing Lucy Maidman (see cover story), I had an interesting thought. At least I thought it was interesting. She was telling me about the new Young Storers group that has recently been launched by the Self Storage Association. At first I wondered why. Was it just an opportunity for a few 30-somethings to get together with little purpose other than to hit the bar reasonably hard? Then I realised, times have changed.

Young people today are not the same as their parents. Something happened while they were growing up. It’s called technology. For many of us with greying hair, it’s an uncomfortable relationship. We accept technology, we tolerate it, we are frustrated by the constant change and, fundamentally, we don’t really get it. They do!

And that makes a huge difference, especially where groups of people are concerned. I can remember many happy hours sitting in association meetings talking about the same things we did last time and resolving that nothing could possibly be done until we met again in three months. Things got done, but slowly.

Today, there is less need for formal meetings. Just put everyone together in a WhatsApp group and you can meet for a chat every day if you like. Ideas dreamed up during the journey to work can be communicated, analysed, refined and agreed upon before the morning coffee’s cold. Problems can be solved by group chats in minutes. Relationships can be built in days that would have taken years at annual conferences.

Of course, us oldies can do that too – but we don’t. We don’t quite trust it. We are not really used to it. Facebook is fine for keeping track of the kids, but real business needs to be conducted face-to-face doesn’t it? Well, no, not really.

Social media has its problems. People need to be careful what they say and be mindful that 140 (or even 280) characters can often communicate a meaning that was not intended (Mr Trump take note). But younger people have a much better feel for it. The Young Storers, and the new Young Movers group launched this month by BAR, know how to do it. That immediacy of communication makes a difference. Maybe association committees and even company board meetings are to be consigned to the past. Probably not a bad thing in my opinion.

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