“You’re a big music fan, aren’t you?”
We stood there talking among other parents who mingled while kids ran around celebrating our Little League T-ball season.
“Yes, indeed,” I answered.
“You heard about B.B. King?”
“Yes, what a loss to the music industry. A living legend whose impact will live on and on. In fact, I saw that he had passed away via my Facebook news feed yesterday.”
The conversation continued, two dads talking music, one a guitar and Hammond organ player who had played in bands and had even cut an “album,” the other (me) an aspiring drummer who couldn’t stop gushing about the last big hurrah Rush tour – R40.
Soon after our conversation, we moved on to our spouses and kids, in between checking our phones for various “newsy” updates and social “pings.”
Ah, the bliss of instant connectivity to anything and everything all in the palms of our hands that some would say without really understanding the advanced intelligence and power we have access to. Some would even say this bliss sides with ignorance. Actually, Carl Sagan once said that we’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces.
I do understand Carl’s greater geopolitical context, but when it comes to everyday progress, I beg to differ. This is why the arguments in favor of the fact that technology makes us less social and more stupid are, well, stupid.
Okay, maybe it makes the stupid stupider, but I have to give the majority of us more credit than that. Smartphone technology has advanced dramatically and in the next few years smartphones will be smarter and continue to supplant desktop and laptop computers. In fact, the way in which people access the Internet has already been transformed as more people use mobile devices to go online practically anywhere today. There are now 5.2 billion mobile devices in use across the world, compared to only 789 million laptops and 743 million desktop PCs.
According to the Pew Research Center, Smartphones are used for much more than calling, texting, or basic internet browsing. Users are turning to these mobile devices as they navigate a wide range of life events:
- 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
- 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
- 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
- 43% to look up information about a job.
- 40% to look up government services or information.
- 30% to take a class or get educational content.
- 18% to submit a job application.
While it’s the higher percentage of all younger folk that embrace social networking, watching video, and listening to music or podcasts more than older folk, the same Pew Research shows growing utilization across the generations. So don’t let me catch you requiring your jobs for digital natives only. You know, those who’ve grown up wired to the Internet, as opposed to us older folk who adopted it. That kind of age discrimination can get you into hot water sooner than you think. Talk about stupid.
Plus, long gone are the formal protocols of the “offline” networking world. Mobile devices and social media have made connecting and networking so much easier to nearly everyone with an Internet connection. Rob Garcia, Silicon Valley product executive and co-founder and Chief Product Officer at ConnectUp, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that we’re now in a hyper-connected world, those who are able to build, maintain, sustain and leverage their entire network outside of social, be more successful, and impact the world.
Along with that, we are becoming a more responsible global community of multigenerational digital citizens from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds not bound by the blatant ignorance of short-sighted governments and business leaders. That’s why those of us who are much more social and much less stupid can and do incite and sustain positive change.
And that’s music to my ears.