Saturday, October 31, 2015

Anywhere but


These days, it is getting harder for me to compartmentalize my time  as my attention is somewhat terribly divided. I had a sense of relief when I recently quitted one whats app group as I found the exchanges very distracting though I was  not obliged to read nor respond to anyone of the videos and photos that had been posted. Technology requires us  to multitask even if we are not willing to conform. Apart from  texts and emails which I personally have to respond to, I have to pay more attention to the work that is  done by the staff as everyone is so  distracted by their whats app, facebook and text messages  so much so that seemingly nobody is paying full attention to their tasks at hand. Being competent is not one aspires to be. Everyone is distracted, anywhere but what they are supposed to be attending to. Quite often the attitude is to get by and the attention span is  brief.

In legal practice, though we are still unable to do away with printed copies for record purposes, we try to minimize wastage by working electronically on agreements and various documents  and only print them out when they are finalised. Till this date, I still prefer to read the printed texts and not the online versions. Even though I have books downloaded on my iPad, I still prefer to read printed books. We have to find a way to strike a balance between digital texts and printed ones while embracing technology. Il faut trouver un  √©quilibre entre tradition et innovation.

Last week I dropped by one of the local bookshops to pick up a book as a birthday gift for a friend and I stumbled upon the novel Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza.  I was hooked from its prologue. Every so often , I need one of these feel good stories as it is comforting to know that ultimately good persons will triumph over the evil ones. I used to purchase fashion magazines namely Vogue, US, UK or Australian editions as they were my guilty pleasures just as much as chick lits about women who work in fashion media industry. So voila, a novel about fictional characters working in  a fashion magazine  in a digital age is bound to take me on a delightful ride. And it does.

Techbitch  is all about the technological revolution. Imogen Tate, the editor-in-chief of Glossy magazine , aged 42 returns to work after her hiatus only to find that her former assistant, Eve Morton who is now a graduate from Harvard Business School has been engaged to convert the magazine into an app. Eve is ruthless  on the borderline of a sociopath . Imogen has worked hard  to get to where she is , a reputable and successful editor and she is also a happily married woman and mother of two young children whom she adores. She is determined to learn all about tweeting and instagramming to keep up with the rapidly- changing world of tech with google glass already popularized and she refuses to let the twenty- somethings who do not acknowledge her presence  break her .

Imogen was barely on Facebook and had signed onto that only because the kids’ schools used it for all of their PTA updates ( important news about early dismissals, fund- raisers and wear –green –to – school days) and to keep an eye on Annabel now that her daughter was growing more and more distant and mature.

That reminds me of how I first created a facebook account years ago when my younger daughter was going on a student exchange AFS programme in France so  I could see her updates when she was busy having fun. Although I am not in the fashion media industry, I can relate to  how the protagonist Imogen Tate  has to adapt to the age of technology. Despite the urgency to re-invent fashion media to attract the young readers, ultimately Imogen’s experience, talent and dedication to the magazine  prove to be invaluable and Eve’s go-getter and social climbing style without manners is  crass. The story is funny and sassy, a wonderful read indeed.


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