Maybe the Last Really Shall Be First

There are a LOT of really crazy theories out there. Most of these theories are driving without a license as they cruise the distance, end to end, of the information super highway. Well I’ve got my blinker on, about to enter the on ramp to the hammer lane. Have I got a theory for you.

I use the driving metaphor because my colleagues and I spend a considerable amount of time traversing our state of Delaware recording the voices and faces of our neighbors, your neighbors including the 47%, maybe mostly the 47%. We’re storytellers. They’ve got stories and they seem to like telling them to us. (#trust)

Right now we are midway through a series of tales about the reinvention of our public libraries. These wonderful spaces are, among other things, digital oases for the many who still live on the backside of the digital divide. Can you imagine having to leave your palm, your lap, your personal space just to be able to check your email or check in on Facebook? What, no Twitter? OMG!

Now there is a good deal of posturing by the giant communications conglomerates about closing the gap between the digital haves and have-nots but it doesn’t seem to be happening very quickly. I mean do they really need them? With the rest of us borderline addicted to our devices, these providers are making PLENTY of doe-re-mi as my Aunt Helen used to say. And speaking of addiction, the smart phone is now officially recognized as an entity to which people can become addicted. Teens are losing sleep as they text through the night, and grades are suffering.

Oh come on, we older folks text incessantly. We check our email, look up all kinds of things because we can and generally feel insecure if we are too far away from our devices. When was the last time you saw someone’s hands during a meeting? In that same setting, eye contact is, well, intermittent. We’re all guilty. Well, maybe not all of us.

You see my theory is that we are not in the midst of a digital revolution but an evolution where many of our species will become increasingly obsessed with their devices, eventually losing many of their human communications skills. The 47% on the other hand will still be heading to our incredible public libraries to use computers in 30+ minute sessions. They will get the information they need while maintaining the ability to interact with others, conversing for long periods of time, and all the while making eye contact. When they “like” something it will be because they really like something. And as these skills once again grow in popularity and favor, they will rise, and the last shall be first! 

OK, it’s just a theory and until then it’s important that we keep working to achieve digital parity for all of our citizens. Are you with me friends? I mean I had to write this because my internet’s down and I was about to go stir crazy. Maybe I’ll head over to the library, research a script, see what’s new.      

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