from the Front Page...

From Your President by Edna Rask Erickson

Twenty years ago the pioneers in the computer industry were reverently referred to as nerds. The triumph of the nerds has changed:

our industry

our communication

our business operations

our need for information and

our professional development.

In his 1996 book Digerati, John Brockman uses, not nerds, but digerati to refer to the group of cyber elite *who have a tremendous influence on the emerging communication revolution surrounding the growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web*. The 33 digerati Brockman describes constitute a critical mass of thinkers, doers and writers. They represent a much larger group of cyber elite.

Where once we IICS members might have been thought of as nerds, we are now the cyber elite. In Digerati Stewart Brand describes us as idea factories who make things happen. We are good at what we do. Because we have gotten into a meritocracy with others like ourselves, we force each other to get better. We cyber elite evangelize, connect people and adapt quickly. We like to communicate with our peers because the interaction forces us to go to the top of our form and explain our most interesting new ideas. We talk to each other about something that we are excited about because we want to see if that something plays. We ask each other the questions we are asking ourselves, and that*s part of what makes this cyber elite work. We pay close attention to each other.

To Brockman one overriding factor makes us elite: we are *at the helm of some of the most important developments of our time and we are a tremendous influence.* He says that many of the brightest people have gone into computing and the cutting edge is in exploring new communications, such as the World Wide Web. The cyber elite give us new ideas about how human beings can communicate with each other.

As professionals, our need for information is constantly expanding. This need motivates us to join peer groups like the IICS. But last year our IICS membership decreased to fewer than 3,000. This decrease in membership led to a decrease in revenue. For this reason, the 1996 IIICS Board chose to reduce our significant coventional printing costs by moving toward electronic publishing. In early 1996 the Executive Board reviewed proposals from eight volunteer member web publishers. You and I know from experience that IICS members work long days with very little time left over. Having the web site done on a volunteer basis did not provide the hoped-for results.

In December, 1996 the IICS Board of Directors contracted with SmartMedia to:

provide an IICS International web presence

publish the InTouch newsletter at the IICS web site and

generate revenue.

As of today, the IICS is no longer dependent on voice and print communication. In the spirit of the cyber elite, we are pioneers in virtual organization development. During 1997 your Executive Board will be doing the needed restructuring and strategic planning. Our 1997 strategic vision statement is:

The International Interactive Communications Society (IICS) fosters the development of its members by providing easy access to information.

The impact of this vision will be:

more IICS members

more revenue

more profitable, productive, better informed members

more members who are competitive in interactive and internet development

enhanced efficiency of information delivery

greater member involvement in IICS affairs and

increased member satisfaction and

greater responsiveness to the needs of local chapters through frequent two-way communication.


To implement this vision, your new board is composed of former local chapter officers, all eager to make certain 1997 will be a new beginning.

This is your 1997 IICS Executive Board:

Edna Rask Erickson, Past President of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter

Brent Brotine, Past President of the Chicago Chapter

Krishna Pendyala, Past President and Founder of the Pittsburgh Chapter

Bill Heid, Past President of the Pittsburgh Chapter

Alessandra Losciale, Active Member of the New York City Chapter

Jason Brewster, Active Member of the Atlanta Chapter

Jim Griffith, Past International President from the Los Angeles Chapter.

In this year of restructuring the IICS as a virtual organization, we have the information needs of our members--the cyber elite--as our first priority.



Edna Rask Erickson

with your comments and suggestions.



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