Alvin specializes in digital communications strategies, social media marketing and online distribution. He consults companies looking to engage with audiences using new media tools or understanding emerging market trends.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Lice
2015 by Alvin Singh
For my family who taught me the meaning of love and patience. I promise to continue to strive to balance my work and family time appropriately.
For Alf Kumalo, a photography legend and hero, who not only captured some of the most historical moments in South Africa, but also lived an exemplary life. He became not only a best friend to Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela, but also a mentor to me. Thank you for all the lessons you taught me with your Nikon camera and warm smile.
For the men and women who want to take control of their digital lives and to enjoy more of the outdoors, and who understand thatlife is not meant to be lived in front of your keyboard or smartphone.
For the entrepreneurs who want to follow their passions and not become slaves to everything that pings, rings, or sings for their attention. Keep your head up and believe in yourself.
Foreword - Kathy Gill
"The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed." - William Gibson
We are living in the future. The world envisioned by science fiction writers now exists outside our imaginations.
Doctors can print body parts. Patients can control robots simply by thinking. Digital glasses redefine what’s meant by “always on,” and stir us to rethink standards of privacy. A television newsroom rests in our pocket. In a single minute—60 seconds—300+ hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Daily, we send almost 10 times the number of instant messages than there are people in the world, yet 60 percent of the world's population is not yet online. Driverless cars on Earth; a robot living on Mars; a zero-carbon footprint city under construction in Masdar; the European Space Agency investigating 3D printing as a means to build a base on the moon: yes, we are living in the future.
But this future is unevenly distributed. Life today remains fraught with war, hunger, disease, and poverty. That’s why the work of people like Alvin Singh is vital.
Once upon a time, we went to school and finished with a diploma. Maybe we went on to college. But with that diploma we were “done” with learning. Sure, we’d continue to pick up a few new skills in the school of hard knocks, but the world around us didn’t change so quickly that we needed more schooling.
In 2010, Google’s Eric Schmidt said that in just two days we created as much information as we had created since the dawn of civilization through to 2003, but another technology executive called foul when he tried to track down a source for the statement. No one knows for certain how much information there is in the world, but Buckminster Fuller, author of the 1982 book Critical Path, and the likely source for Schmidt’s deduction, observed that the more we know, the more quickly we know more.
We are living in exponential times. Yet some things are unchanging. For each of us, the need to engage with friends and family, with the world, with exponential innovation and change, remains paramount.
We need to know how to assess, select, and organize an ever-increasing barrage of digital information. We need to know which communication channel
is best suited for our message and audience. To know that, we have to know and use these channels, and be aware of any new ones on the horizon. We have to learn how to protect our identities and data, how to fact check before forwarding, how to assume responsibility for our digital selves. It is also essential that we do all of this in an ethical and moral manner.
To accomplish this, most of us need a guide, a teacher, a coach, someone who has walked the road and not only knows where the potholes lie, but understands how to get around them—who has already experimented in this new frontier, who has taken risks and learned from past experiences, who cares about others and gives of himself to the community, someone like Alvin.
The skills, tips, and examples that you will take away from this book will guide your digital presence. You will learn how to analyze the new frontier that is social media, and figure out which will work best for you and your goals. You’ll learn how digital communities are similar to and different from the analog world, those communities that you already understand.
In short, you’ll learn how to put your best digital foot forward. You’ll grasp how emerging communication technologies can be harnessed to affect social change, to achieve that utopia free of war, hunger, disease, and poverty that science fiction writers hoped for our future.
Kathy E. Gill, @kegill