During the presidential race we were led to believe that Obama was a young, hip, up with the trends type of candidate. His people and the media made a big deal of him using his blackberry all the time, and how he used Twitter and Facebook unlike any other candidate. We were led to believe that this Presidential candidate was one of us, used the same internet sites as us, the same gadgets as us….well, it looks like we were fooled. President Obama gave a commencement speech this past weekend at Hampton University and hit out at the iPad and the Xbox, among other items. “iPods and iPads and PlayStations and Xboxes” — for turning “information” into a “distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment.” He also admitted that he doesn’t know how any of them “work,” either.
“And meanwhile, you’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”
What exactly is the President trying to tell us? Are these toys we use in our everyday life bad? Or should we turn them off every once in awhile? Yes, they are just toys, but most of us now have come to rely on these “toys” as part of our everyday lives. At Trademark we make our living on using and building applications for these items.
During his campaign to defeat senator McCain, President Obama used blogs, Twitter, Facebook and a slew of other resources to get his message out there. Now all of a sudden he’s doing a 180 degree turn on us?
“Allowing you to compete in the global economy is the first way your education can prepare you. But it can also prepare you as citizens. With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult at times to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not. Let’s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I’ve had some experience in that regard.”
Maybe President Obama and his speech writers should have done some research before knocking these items, as many of them are now being embraced by schools and universities alike. The iPad and the kindle can easily replace a whole backpack of textbooks, all while making learning a whole lot easier!
My message to the President Obama: Make up your mind Mr. President!
Maybe the President needs to think back to when he was a regular man, and remember that us regular folks do use the internet, talk radio, social media sites and things alike to better our selves, and also for a little entertainment in our lives. I agree that maybe some of us go a little overboard in the use of these items, but there’s no need to tell an entire class of graduates (and the nation) to put these items away. Some of us need distractions like the iPad, an iPod, or the Xbox to make it through the day, not only for work, but for our sanity.