As I wrote last week, it’s hard not to relate everything I’m writing and reporting about now to the Japanese earthquake. That’s why I was drawn to the Topcon Facebook page, where we get some news about how Topcon corporate HQ fared during the quake. (Topcon is a global corporation that intersects with 3D imaging in a couple of places, including mobile mapping and individual laser scanners made by the wholly owned subsidiary, Topcon Positioning.)
Dennis House, Topcon’s vice president of marketing communications took the time to post the following:
Just rec’d following from Hirohsi Haruoka at Tokyo HQ:
“All my members of Global Communications group and all the Topcon people are okay! The shakes were tremendous and scaring to all of us. However, we got out of the office and went home earlier. Today, March 11, THQ is closed because most of the trains are stopped and electricity feeding may be suspended from time to time. I rode my bicycle to the company 20 minutes ago, and will go back home with my PC. I will be in touch.”
You can read all the media reports you want, and watch all the video you can get your hands on, but only through social media like this (for me, anyway) does the earthquake hit home as a real event. Life goes on. You’ve got to get ahold of your computer so you can get some work done. Trains are down? Ride your bike. Power might be down from time to time. You can be lulled into thinking it’s not that much different from a bad blizzard here in the northeast United States.
Facebook hasn’t really hit the business world yet (Topcon has only 124 “likes” of this page I’m linking to). It’s still b-to-c (that’s business-to-consumer, for those not in on the marketing speak) in terms of the way corporations are using it. LinkedIn and Twitter are far more widely used in the b-to-b world. But there’s something about Facebook that allows for a much more personal interaction, probably because interactions aren’t limited to 140 characters.
Regardless, it’s a reminder to ask after the company’s well-being when I see the Topcon guys in Houston at SPAR. I know just that little bit more about how the earthquake affected the company, and how the 3D imaging market in general might be affected. Pretty cool, really. Better than just watching the news.