A Little Change Here, A Big Change There

March 31, 2010by Jeane Kropp

A Little Change Here, A Big Change There

It used to be said that the world and society is slow to change. If we take a look at technology’s impact on societal norms, that statement is now a blatant falsity. Societal change is happening at terminal velocity. Here are but a few observations regarding our ‘new way’ of interacting with the world and each other.

  • Wireless Reading Devices: Hmmm, will this mean people  can no longer loan their favorite books to friends, line their shelves with bound escapism or close a novel with a resounding thump and a sigh of satisfaction? Publishers and designers, I challenge you to up the ante on personalization and experiential elements of electronic reading devices — make them warm and snuggly and allow them to be as artful as books on display.
  • Online Shopping: I have a favorite grocery store check-out person. She’s funny and happy and always makes me smile. I pick her lane when she’s working. So, online retailers, what can you do to make me smile upon check-out?  Or maybe this is where UPS/FedEx can increase their value even more. Picture a world of  shoes being delivered to your door with a pretty rose left on top of the box. Now that would make me smile!
  • Texting: Let’s rally against becoming a pack of monosyllabic keyboardists. Prose should continue to mean something.  I fear texting’s effect on literature and on attention spans. If I write a sentence, or heaven forbid, a paragraph, will it be ignored because it is too long, or says too much? We need to make sure depth of communication and emotional attachment stays present in our relationships; business, personal and otherwise.
  • Cell Phones: Our private lives are made public via the topics we are discussing in the company of others. We’re both exhibitionists and voyeuristic at the same time. While traveling this week, I heard a father say a sweet good night to his child, a woman break up with her boyfriend and a boss dress-down a subordinate. The first made me happy, the second and third made me uncomfortable and want to move seats. Architects, builders, cell phone manufacturers: what’s your next innovation to protect us from TMI? Privacy booths and cones of silence might be the next big thing. Maxwell Smart did have it right after all.

Every advancement, every vision creates a need for more. And that’s what makes all of this pretty darn fun. Here’s to the next ten years of advancement and adventure.

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