Once upon a time the expression “you had to be there” meant something. Besides some sort of video, photo or audio documentation that you had to rely on – and then wait to be shared (remember slideshows!) – you did truly have to be there to relive the experience. This “once upon a time” was really only a handful of years ago. Can you remember what it was like before social sharing? What about before smart phones? OK, if you do, what about the time before email? Besides a bill, when was the last time you actually put a postage stamp on something and mailed it?
The social web has completely revolutionalized the dissemination of information. To say it is instant is perhaps even an understatement. Take a photo, “share to” and voila. 140 characters, “share to” and done. Even though I’ve been using computers for over 25+ years, it seems like the dark ages before the social boom we are living in now. It changes daily, if not hourly, and I still laugh every time I read about an expert in Twitter, or Facebook, or digital marketing. It is changing too fast for anyone to bill themselves as an expert.
This month is an exciting time for members of the Construction Specifications Institute – CSI. Tomorrow the 56th annual CSI convention, CONSTRUCT, starts up in Phoenix, AZ. An assembly of construction specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, product representatives, manufacturers, owners and others all under one roof at the Phoenix Convention Center that are dedicated to improving the communication of construction information and the built environment. The “Project”, what we all work so hard towards, is nothing without proper architectural specifications. All of this September, with the focus being on CONSTRUCT, CSI members are bringing attention to architectural specifications by billing this month SPECtember.
Ever tried grocery shopping for the week without a grocery list? Ever tried to plan a surprise birthday party without an invite list? Ever tried to build an IKEA bookshelf without the instructions? OK, maybe the last one is not a great example, because even with the instructions IKEA assembly is difficult. But, I hope you get the point. Without the end in sight and without that proper ‘walking path’, a Project cannot be built without proper architectural specifications.
CSI members are passionate about the Project. Integrating new technologies with the tried and true, architectural specifications are the glue that makes the Project and the team stick. Having that go to source – the grocery list, the invite list, the owner’s manual, the instructions – gives the Project Team something to reference. Poorly written specifications can give you a poor Project. One riddled with flaws, holes, sub par products and issues. Conversely, excellent architectural specifications can give you an excellent project. A buttoned up, flowing, well oiled machine that functions for everyone – the facility director, the owner, the employees, the visitors. I hope you get the idea.
CONSTRUCT is where the industry goes to fine tune the grocery list, the invite list, the owner’s manual, the instructions. 200+ exhibitors are in Phoenix this week to ensure the Project goes according to plan. Thousands of people are there for Information, hugs, handshakes, smiles and laughs, which are all shared freely and warmly. CSI is about education and CONSTRUCT is where people go to get educated. Filled with dozens of accredited classes from National speakers, knowledge is shared and notes are taken. CSI is not about hoarding information for personal consumption. CSI is about improving facility performance by sharing.
Everything this SPECtember will be tied together with a hashtag (that’s the “pound sign” for the old school telephone users) – #. Look for it across many mediums – mostly Twitter, but also Instagram, Google+ and others. You don’t have to be there (in Phoenix) this week to connect and share. Information, photographs and videos will all be available instantly across the social web, tracked with #CONSTRUCT from my Twitter (@EricDLussier), CSI, CONSTRUCTshow and dozens of others. Give it a whirl! Click on the CSI logo above to search Twitter for #CONSTRUCT. You don’t need an account (but it’s much more fun if you do!) Photos will be shared on FlickR, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other places. And you can do all of this from the comfort of your own home, without the 100 degree heat. Just remember…it’s a dry heat.