Getting away from it all: Now & then

Sometimes, e.g. when I look around a Skytrain car and see people’s faces lit in the unholy glow of iPad screens (see “Digital bedlam”)—when I notice the wires dangling from people’s heads, the animated conversations with invisible presences on the part of people sporting no visible gadgetry at all, the poke-poking and thumbing of games and messages and searches for the meaning of life—it seems to me that these changes in our behavior have been sudden. Just last … Read more

Digital civility rools, or doesn’t

Vertically walleyed: A new affliction, an occupational hazard for the digitally connected and cool, a neologism of sorts coined right here and right now.

“My students tell me about an important new skill: it involves maintaining eye contact with someone while you text someone else; it’s hard, but it can be done.”

That’s from a great NY Times article by Sherry Turkle, “The Flight from Conversation.” And this advice has expanded my notion of what’s fittin’ and … Read more

From absent presence to omnipresence: “I am my iPhone” (local DTAC slogan) to “We are my iPad”

In Thailand, the iPad mostly remains a rumor of digital utopia on the other side of the world. But travelers to those distant parts are beginning to arrive back here with their über-gadgets.

And they are harbingers of epidemic social change. These carriers of the current Digital Grail—and soon, I suspect, they’ll include everybody in the world with a few hundred dollars to spend—behave as though they carry new-born children, and they’re prone to dropping these items on the … Read more