Monday, February 09, 2009

A Digital Teaching Moment

I listened to a commentary on National Public Radio a few days ago. The commentator, David Shipley of the New York Times, was discussing how President Obama was able to convince his security contingent and his legal counsel to allow him to keep his beloved “Blackberry.” As has been reported extensively, Mr. Obama long ago joined the throngs of aficionados of this part phone, part computer, and part social secretary. While the commentator was not lamenting this new twist to presidential communications, he did suggest that the President could use this as a real “teaching moment” for the others who are - some would say - addicted to this device. In fact, the “Blackberry” has been dubbed by some pundits as the “crackberry.”

The commentator opined that it was not that the President used a “Blackberry” it was how and when he chose to use it that was going to be significant. It is one thing to check email and voice mail while riding in the back seat of your car to the next appointment. It is another to have it on the conference room table in plain site and beeping while meeting face to face with another human.

I could not agree more. It is not just the improper use of “Blackberries” that drive me nuts. It is the use of cell phones, iPods, GPS devices and other personal electronics that has given an entirely new definition to rude and dangerous behavior.

There is nothing more distracting than giving a business presentation to a group of “professionals” sitting around a conference table festooned with enough “Blackberries” to bake a good size digital pie. It is one thing to multitask and another to be just plain rude. I am never sure if the people are emailing the CEO of the company or playing a game with the guys sitting across the table.

I have written several times about the proliferation of “Bluetooth” and how it has made the cell phone even more intrusive. Standing at the deli counter at Biggs, I am in no mood to learn all the gory details of the most recent surgical procedures or loves lost of the lady standing next to me waiting for ½ pound of ham, “sliced very thin please…and Suzy you won’t believe what Rita said about…..”.

And there are the folks that think they are on the Star Ship Enterprise now that they have equipped their vehicles with a new GPS devices. OK, let’s look out the windshield occasionally and see some of us other drivers who are not only in the same galaxy, but on the same road. And for heavens sake put that cell done down while driving 5 MPH though a snow storm in I-74 …with your flashers on!

It really comes down to doing what your mother told you. Do what you are doing. Be respectful to others and keep your eyes on the road. I am not worried. Our new President has had good upbringing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like this one! -d

9:40 PM  

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