I heart technology
I am often, a bit too often, criticized for bringing up technology and the Internet in conversations that, according to others, have nothing to do with technology. You can hear me say “I love Google” or “I heart the Internet” a few times a day (but then again who doesn’t love Google?). I might have even compared Google, Opera Mini and all other browsers to romantic relationships. According to many, this love for the Internet is a typical trait of my generation (you know the digital natives who grew up online, shared every single thought that popped in our brains and have a cell phone glued to our hands.)
But… the truth is I don’t love the Internet nor do I love Google. I love what they allow me to do. I love the clever ways people around the world use the interwebs to create, collaborate and just make the world a better place. I love the Internet not because of the new shiny toys that appear every day nor because of the funniest LOLCats you can find online. I love the online world because it provides tremendous utility to my personal and professional life. I love the ideas and the people behind them. As my dear friends at Nokia say, “It’s not technology, it’s what you do with it.”
And it is true. Technology doesn’t excite people. Not ordinary people, not geeks, not even engineers. Technology has never excited people even when we invented the wheel because technology is just a tool. Ideas excite us. Utility excites us. What we do with tools excites us. Think about it. People don’t care about the medium or the message. They care about the idea. The only time this isn’t true is when a new channel is the idea itself.
In my mind Internet = Ideas. On the one hand, it allows us to collaborate with people we’ve never met or to exchange ideas with people whom we’ve admired since high school. On the other hand, it is perfect for spreading these ideas and sharing them with the people in our communities. I didn’t share the MINI Getaway video because I cared about the MINI Cooper or the game. I shared it because it is a cool idea that makes me excited regardless of the fact that I can’t participate. I love Google’s India Music Labs albeit Hindi music is not my cup of tea. It is a great idea, how can you not love it?
What’s the point of this rant? It’s not a defense of my tendencies to bring up the Internet in almost every conversation, although I get paid to hang out on the interwebs, so what do you really expect from me? It’s not a defense of the Internet, or technology in general. The point is to realize the power of technology and how much easier it is to create now than it was 20 years ago. Isn’t that what people in this business do: create?
So here is the question: How do you use the tools?
Photo credit: Courtney Bolton