This weekend has been a good weekend. As I read a few news articles online this weekend I was taken back by something that seems to be an unavoidable reality. We will probably be the last generation to remember the world before the internet and the mobile web. As I spent my Friday riding the train downtown, I noticed something, everyone is now connected to the World Wide Web. As I ran to the train, and sat down I realized that their was only one person reading an actual book. I saw no one reading a physical news paper, and there was really an absence of all things paper. As I stared at the one person on board reading an actual book, I started to realize that there was an inundation of mobile devices. Whether it was the elderly woman reading what looked to be a 10″ Android tablet, or the young girl paging through her second generation Kindle, it soon became apparent that the days of the newspaper on the train are almost over. I marveled at the fact that 90-95 percent of the people on a packed train were using some sort of digital device. As I day dreamed and observed it soon became clear that the internet has taken over the world. I was awoken out of my distraction at the sound of my wife’s Android phone, and I laughed to myself as I opened the Steve Jobs book on mine.
As I read the Steve Jobs book on my phone, the contrasting world of my parents seemed somewhat of a novel memory. I remember getting the newspaper off of the porch for my mother. I can’t imagine going through high school and having the internet to help me with homework. No more going to the library to do research, the library is now in our pockets. I really couldn’t see walking around with such a powerful tool like the internet in my pocket. And the ability to call up answers to problems in seconds, is a luxury that would have made me a straight A+ student. As I sat on the train another thing crossed my mind, no one was using a laptop on the train. I came of age at a time when Apple was perfecting the laptop computer, and the desktop was the computer of choice. The latest technology was the beeper (remember those). I have seen the transformation of the computing industry from laptop to tablet. As a designer and a self-taught computer geek, it has been a wild and exciting ride seeing the maturation of mobile technology. It’s also been devastating seeing the inevitable demise of the newspaper industry. I have always had a desire to become a hybrid designer/journalist, and the newspaper industry has always held a special place in my heart. Fortunately for me the platform of blogging gives everyone an opportunity to live out their dreams of becoming a journalism superstar.
I was sharply jarred out of my day-dream by the sudden lurch of the train easing to a pause at my stop. As I looked up at the remaining passengers I noticed everyone plugging in headphones, making calls and interacting with their digital devices. My wife asked what I was reading as we stood to exit the train. “The Steve Job Book” I replied. “Do you realized we have not talked to each other the whole ride?”, “Yeah” I said, as she laughed and shook her head. “Blame it on the phone” I said as we both laughed and exited the train. As much as I love the convenances of mobile technology, I have to wonder if it’s going to spoil the generation after us. It’s something really cool about being able to multi-task and run your whole existence through your phone, even if you may lose interpersonal interaction with the human race. Gotta love technology!