Change is Here – NOW!


Remember the old saying, “The only constant is change.”? Well, it’s true – AND change is here – NOW! In case you haven’t stopped to look around, the impact of mobile communications technology is everywhere. Seriously!

Most notably mobile technology change is evident in television entertainment. This past week I noticed (hard telling how many I don’t notice any more) three instances of technology change in TV programs we watch. The most memorable was a 30-min sitcom where one colleague was telling another that they learned something from a podcast. Have you ever heard the word “podcast” used in a sitcom? Seriously!

The other two were simply people talking about texting each other. One was a popular dramedy (there’s another major sign of change in our society – neologism), a TV series that has both elements of drama and comedy. And, I remember a sitcom episode from some months ago that used the newly released iPad as THE BIRTHDAY GIFT that the technophile Dad wanted, and the ordeal the technophobe wife had in getting one. A trite storyline, updated for today in terms of object and dialog, but still Pop Culture at its most influential. (No doubt this will be an iPad holiday shopping season.)

To reinforce that change is here – now, this past weekend while in the mall it struck me that virtually everywhere I looked I saw people using mobile devices. In the mall restroom waiting area were four nice easy chairs arranged around a circular place rug and coffee table, even end tables for packages, and in every chair was someone using a mobile device. There was a 50-something man texting to someone (probably his wife wanting to know where he was), two tweens also texting to someone, and a Gen Y man using his iPad to browse whatever. (Why is it that more men sit in malls than women?) Of the young people I noticed navigating through the mall, at least 50% were actively texting.

At a stop light this morning on the way to work (in the dark), I noticed the driver next to me was a young person, probably 18 to 25 as near as I could tell from the glow of light on her face as she was looking down into her lap, and she was no doubt texting intently. We were at the long light of an on ramp to the freeway, so I was able to watch her for a good 30 seconds during which she never looked up at the light. (Fortunately, she was behind me entering the freeway.)

Have you noticed how many cell service provider kiosks there are in the malls? I saw one from every service provider I’ve ever heard of. (I should spend a day and visit each one to find out what they are offering for smartphones and service.) I did not see anything advertising, or reminding customers of their library, or even a book drop.

Point being – when something finds its way into TV entertainment – IT IS IN! Mobile communications technology is definitely in! Will libraries be the laggards – the last to adopt it? Let’s hope not.

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