I’m on the Amtrak for the first time since I was twelve years old and not until now has the questioned popped up in my head: Who in their right mind does this sort of thing? The year is 2011, not 1971. Travelling the country for an entire year is something from the fantasized dreams of rockers from the late sixties and early seventies. Whatever your point of view though, I’m doing it. I’ve been on the voyage for about three weeks and so far I have been able to see very two different communities.
As I take this three hour train trip to San Antonio, I look down at the communities and wonder what makes them thrive? Are the people who live there happy? Have they always lived in these places? What do they want for their future? I know I won’t be able to even make a dent into representing these answers at all, but I feel that I will find out something about our country.
A large part of the Austin community was learning about the latest technology. I learned more in the last thirteen days about technology than I’ve learned in the last five years. That says a ton because up until a year and a half ago, I wasn’t even on facebook yet. Yeah, sit with that for a minute and realize how far I’ve come to be able to run my own website while on the road for the year.
This week though, focusing on the absolute latest in technology really got me thinking about how far and how fast we have come in the last fifteen years. Fifteen years ago, I was sixteen. I had just learned how to drive and that was the coolest thing ever to happen to anyone. With that, we had also got internet, along with four computers, in each of our classrooms. That is when I got my official first email address. Gpot@hotmail.com where I can still be reached when nothing else is possible. It is the longest committed relationship I have had with anything in my entire life
In my junior year, something extraordinary happened to me; I got my first cell phone. I was the first one in my high school and that made me ahead of technology. I thank this to Dolly because she was always about being ahead of everyone else. Since she had a cell phone, I had to get one because we had to be a matching pair.
I got into college and began to fall behind the crowd. I didn’t get into Friendster, had no interest in online journals and seeing how my mother was extremely adamant about not having any sort of video games, I never got into computer games. Finally, at our last dinner together, my college roommates bet me to get onto myspace. That went nowhere fast.
Now, six years after that experiment of me getting on myspace, I am now tweeting on Hootsuite, while checking into the coffee shop I’m working at on four square. I’m wondering why people haven’t facebooked my latest youtube video to friends while I am texting the printers to get a QR Code on my business cards so that Project Kinect followers can immediately link to my website from their smart phone. That is the world we are in my friends and it is not going to wait for you.
So, now that we acknowledge all this fantastic technology for socializing, what do we do with it? Do we use it to sell our product, or get the population to check out our latest art exhibit? Do we try and get to know one another so that we can grow together and move forward or do we use it to dismantle each other to feel better about ourselves and fall behind? That is exactly where we find ourselves today and it is up to us to make these decisions for ourselves. Those are individual choices that we must take responsibility for and hold each other accountable. That however, becomes a little too preachy for this train ride so I just suggest sitting back, turning off your phone, and enjoy the scenery for a moment. Maybe even talk with someone else on the train.