So I'm sitting in an airport on my third weather delay (one delay was because we had to wait to swap out our airplane for a different one because the windshield wiper was broken -seriously) and I am sitting across from four elderly ladies (yes much older than even me), each of which have their own iPhones in their respective zebra, mirror, bejeweled, and one understated plain case, and I'm thinking to myself, how cool is that? Are they surfing the internet for up to the minute weather reports to calculate when we might be able to take off, checking the markets to see how their annuities are faring after a third day of world-wide declines, getting the latest from CNN to see if those pings might really be from the lost Malaysian flight? Uh, no. They are sharing YouTube files as Facebook friends of a dog dancing to Pharrell William's Cause I'm Happy. At first I was aghast. What a glaring under utilization of technology! How could the amazing power of this innovative technology wind up in the hands of old folks content that would use it solely for promoting a good belly laugh while watching a dancing dog?
I asked myself, "Would Steve Jobs be rolling over in his grave if he were to view this spectacle?" I'm going to go out on a limb here, not personally knowing the man, but I think he would be smiling. Shouldn't the value of technology be determined by the user? Who am I to sit in judgement of what is a worthy use of technology? Technology is a tool to be used to support the needs of the user. For me, it's about accessing information and collaborating with like-minded people across the world. So what? Technology is transforming so many aspects of our lives. From how we access our favorite shows and movies, to how we bank, to how we do our shopping. In addition to shaping how we communicate with family and friends, social media has sparked and supported uprisings and revolutions around the world. Maybe instead of poo-pooing these ladies watching dog videos, I should be celebrating they (1) have way cool devices, (2) know how to use them, and (3) are social networkers, which I might add appears to be working quite well for them. You go Grandma and your Facebook friends!