behind the times, baby
Friday I went to this conference where the keynote speaker (Dr. Maddeus) essentially said that all of the folks in the audience were out of the loop and if we didn’t get with the technology we were going to miss the boat (!!). Anyhow, he started out the presentation with some very over the top Bill-n-Ted speak, to which I leaned over to K, and said, ‘dude, this is not going to be most excellent’ (which I meant in a very sarcastic way!)
Now, sure there were some folks there who might have needed to hear that message, but even the ‘old’ folks there have probably done some IM, ICQ, ebay, wikipedia, blogging, Flick’r, del.icio.us, and just about everything else he showed as umm… “NEW” technology.
Anyhow, I’ve heard this guy speak a couple of times, and he just always sort of annoys the heck out of me. Personally, I think HE is behind the times. Talking about how technology controls our society is so… like 1999. Yep, we are also living in a paperless society, buddy, remember that one.
Plus, he barely brushed over information literacy and he didn’t even mention the digital divide…. both of which in a smaller global world are big issues. If we expect an educated child in the U.S. to do a powerpoint slide in 3rd grade, what about the children in Somalia, who do not even have a house to live in, let alone access to a library or a computer (even an old one?) Nor did he mention opensource, which has the ability to revolutionize how we view technology. Imagine, if instead of micro$oft, there was only opensource everything. Free (okay, not really free, because of the hidden cost of developing it, support, and server space to host software, etc., but still….), nonproprietary, support for multiple platiforms. Kind of exciting, isn’t it?
At this point, the educated & wealthy portion of the global culture HAS already shifted. Duh… but it’s not generational nor necessarily educational but about resources and individualization. Sure, some of the ‘kids’ coming through school these days are doing powerpoint in 3rd grade, but I believe my MOM was IMing way before I even thought about it. Go MOM! Have you also noticed all of the nods to older technology and culture popping up? Look around in the stores, just about everything that is ‘new’ is somehow influenced by something old. Take for example cars. How many cars are starting to look an awfully lot like their counterparts from the 1950s, 60s, or even 70s? Who do I see driving the new mustang? The under 25 and the over 50, yep, kind of funny.
I don’t think folks want to abandon anything, they just want to take the parts that they like, add it with some of the newer stuff (better gas mileage, power everything, better stereos, airbags, etc.) and have a new thing….
I think that is the bigger difference in culture right now, that instead of large trends, do it yourself (DIY) is influencing everything in mini-trends, take a little piece of this, take a little piece of that, recycle, reuse, reconstruct. In a way, it’s all very creative. Woman’s shoe’s are a perfect example of this, too. Sure, we’re seeing the return of pointy spike heels, but at this point, you can certainly find chunky round toe maryjanes, without shopping at the goth shop. Well, I’m probably as behind the times as any, I suppose, as I will always have some chunky maryjanes in my closet.
So, maybe that is where technology is going and maybe none of us in the audience are behind the times if we don’t do ALL of those ‘new’ things he discussed, because it’s about having a choice. Taking the parts of the old stuff, repackaging, reconfiguring, and making it better. Isn’t that what technology is supposed to do? Make our lives better and easier? If so, then it’s about time technology started working for us, instead of making MORE work for us. I mean, who really wants to get interrupted in a movie that they need to go to work, especially, if it could have waited until the next time? Or a family member calling to talk when you are right in the middle of flipping an omelet? That’s not technology helping us. That’s technology creating extra demands and stress on us.
Maybe technology is just finally catching up with our expectations (it should be easy to use, it should be customizable for ME). Now, I’d like a purple themed firefox with a built in CSS editor and a validator and oh, wait… I think I can already do that. Blog on, my flick’r-ing del.icio.usly connected e-friends… See you on the ‘net.
Of course, then there’s my other prediction for the future… Being connected is a shiny new fangled toy, which is about to grow old very quickly…and soon, folks will turn it against it (turn off your cell phones signs, etc.)