I knew that headline would get your attention, but it accurately describes a recent presentation that we made at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists conference in Pittsburgh.
AASECT, founded by Pat Schiller in 1967, has been putting together these conferences for 42 years. This year’s theme – "Bridging Educational, Medical, and Clinical Issues in Sexology" - attracted strong, enthusiastic attendance.
What was I doing there?
Conference Co-Chairs Don Dyson and Monica Rodriquez, along with Mike Zeko a principal from ad agency Bozeken, saw an opportunity to assess the “Digital IQ” of AASECT members. Sometimes we view our digital challenges in radio as being common only to our industry. In fact, so many other sectors in the business and health care communities are struggling with some of the same issues – in this case, making the digital transition.
For AASECT, we designed a version of our Technology Surveys, polling their membership to determine their digital and tech skills and experience, juxtaposing it with digital activity among the larger population of clients and patients they serve.
As we in media often struggle to keep pace with our listeners who rapidly are moving to new outlets and platforms, the health care community is feeling these same growing pains. And the issues are similar: how quickly to move and adopt new technologies, the implications of social media, smartphones, and the Internet at large. And how it impacts their practices.
We all are aware of the role that sex has played in the growth of the World Wide Web, so when you’re right in the middle of that therapeutic sector, you can only imagine some of the ethical struggles that occur. And smartphone apps like Boink and Knocking are at the precipice of digital connections that bridge technology and sexuality.
I know that some of you enjoyed reading and responding to some of my tweets and Facebook posts from AASECT. For me, it was a great way to learn something new, while stretching our company's boundaries and moving into a space that is not in our comfort zone.
And as we immersed ourselves into AASECT’s world, the universality of the challenges became rapidly clear. At the conference, I met scores of dedicated, committed and engaged counselors, therapists, and educators, gathered to learn more about their rapidly changing avocation.
I’ll leave you with two video segments I showed during my plenary presentation. The first a commercial you may have seen from Cisco featuring Ellen Page. While entertaining, for AASECT members (and the medical community at large) it raises many questions about the efficacy of the “virtual visit.”
And then the video segment that opened my presentation, starring Lisa Kudrow as Fionna Wallace in “Web Therapy,” a series of short videos produced by L Studio. While outrageous, they depict a future of Skype-like therapy for an A.D.D. public in search of quick answers. While funny, it appears that many AASECT members will confront the notion of virtual therapy at one point or another because clients (consumers) will drive change and technology adoption.
Sometimes you can learn more about your own industry by leaving it for a few days, whether on a vacation or by immersing yourself in a different world.
Good luck to all the AASECT members I met, and I hope we have the opportunity to reconnect down the road.