Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Modern Communication

While I was flying from Chicago to NYC this morning, federal agents were arresting the governor of Illinois. When I landed, I and everyone else on the plane turned on their cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone, or Treo. At that moment, I overheard the flight attendant judging all of us for lacking the self restraint to be out of contact for a few hours. Apparently, anyone who turns on their phone when the wheels hit the runway has some sort of mental illness.

As the phones came on, the news of the arrest quickly spread throughout the plane. People spontaneously started discussing it. The out of touch flight attendant was suddenly interested.

The thing about it is that we will probably never be involuntarily separated from news again.

When I was in law school, the Challenger exploded during the day. Hours went by without any news of the event leaking into my brain. I found out on the train home when I read the paper over the shoulder of the guy ahead of me. That will never happen again. The kids in the law school classes I teach now sit behind laptops connected to the internet. The airlines are rolling web access out on planes. Airports of TV news running in gate areas. I have been on cruise ships in the Caribbean with perfectly acceptable internet access.

I realize that none of this is news, particularly to people who read or write blogs. But I think even the people who do not embrace technology, like my judgmental flight attendant, are marinating in data whether they like it or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Friedman - I think we must be close to the same age. I'll never forget where I was when the Challenger blew up either. I was working for Merrill Lynch and we knew something horrific had happened because the electronic tape on the front wall that was reporting market fluctuations slowed and then stopped. A client called and told me to sit down and turn on a tv. Now that I think about it - a precursor to the never out of touch media we have now - just less obvious.