What is IT? Information vs Interactive Technology

The inevitable business card exchange occurs at a networking event. You meet Jay Simpson, who tells you he’s an IT director.

IT? What does that even mean anymore?

A few years ago, IT was “Information Technology”.

Information technology is a general term that describes any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information.
– from Wikipedia – Information Technology

But more often these days we speak not of Information Technology but of Interactive.

Interactive Marketing refers to the evolving trend in marketing whereby marketing has moved from a transaction-based effort to a conversation…Interactive marketing is not synonymous with online marketing, although interactive marketing processes are facilitated by internet technology.
– from Wikipedia – Interactive Marketing

shapeshiftThe astute will notice that the second definition is about marketing and doesn’t explicitly refer to technology at all. The focus is less on the specific technical specifications and moreso on the application thereof. Interactive also encompasses the user experience: how individuals engage with and how they perceive this engagement with technology to achieve their goals.

At the NTEN conference in San Francisco in April 2009, Beth Kanter declared in a session about social media metrics that Page views are dead. We can no longer simply focus on the technological implementation to measure success. We now look at engagement and influence, and need to actually consider how technology helps with meeting user goals, and then organizational objectives.

It is not sufficient to see technology as simply a tool to “produce, manipulate and store” information. While information is obviously important, it is truly the application thereof that is of significance.

(Photo credit: Shapeshift on Flickr)

One thought on “What is IT? Information vs Interactive Technology

Comments are closed.